English as a “Killer Language”? Multilingual Education in an Indigenous Primary Classroom in Northwestern Mexico

María Rebeca Gutiérrez Estrada, Sandra R. Schecter

Abstract


We report findings of an ethnographic study that explored complexities of English Language Teaching (ELT) in a minority indigenous context in northwestern Mexico. The study investigated a trilingual education setting at the nexus of 2 major events: incorporation of Intercultural Bilingual Education throughout Mexico and integration of ELT into the country’s public school system. Methods included participant observation in primary-level language classes and semi-structured interviews with educators and other stakeholders affiliated with a rural school where an indigenous variety, a societal variety, and a foreign language were taught. Findings indicate that teacher agency was a powerful tool in linguistic and cultural maintenance and transforming language policy and planning at the local level. Although the spread of English may be unavoidable, with local community involvement and a school-based commitment to support linguistic and cultural maintenance, the micro language policy context can be conFigured to promote a symbiotic relationship among linguistic varieties.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jei.v4i1.12849

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Journal of Educational Issues  ISSN 2377-2263

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