Monolingual Policy, Bilingual Interaction : English-taught Education in Bangladesh

Abstract: The research reported here is an investigation of bilingual instruction in Bangladeshi schools. In particular, the thesis explores how schooling takes place when a second language is used as a medium of instruction to teach subject content. The study is based on a corpus of 44 hours of video recordings from real-life classroom interaction at two Bangladeshi schools in two metropolitan cities. The age range of the students is 9 to 13 years. Using multimodal conversation analysis, the thesis analyzes the participants’ practice – as it emerges through mundane classroom activities – and thereby examines participants’ language use in the presence of an existing language policy. The findings show how everyday instructional activities are accomplished in classrooms, especially the pedagogical focus on clarifying subject content and vocabulary. It further highlights that the interrelation between classroom interaction and language policy is informed by the participants’ use of embodied resources and the surrounding material ecology. The dissertation contributes to the growing literature on social interaction in bilingual classrooms and the wider field of bilingual and multilingual pedagogy. 

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