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Revitalisation through Sami language education. A critical discourse analysis of the curricula from kindergarten to upper secondary school in Norway

By Paulette van der Voet


This thesis aims to examine the different language education policies Sami children in Norway are exposed to through their educational career, from kindergarten to upper secondary school. The education system plays a crucial role in the revitalisation of the Indigenous Sami languages and revitalisation efforts are reflected in the current curricula. By using critical discourse analysis, the policy documents relevant for Sami language education are analysed. More specified, the data consists of the parts relevant to the Sami languages of the framework plan for kindergartens, the Norwegian national curriculum and the Sami curriculum. This is done on the basis of two research questions. The first question is how the possibilities to learn and use Sami in kindergarten and school are regulated. The second question is which language ideologies about the Sami languages are reflected in these documents. Three factors played an important role in the regulation of the possibilities to learn and use Sami in kindergarten and school. The first factor is the geographical dimension of the administrative area for the Sami language which on one hand contributes to strengthening the Sami languages inside it, but on the other hand, gives less opportunities to learn and use Sami in kindergarten and school to children living outside of the area. The second factor are different discourses about the importance of Sami language education in the framework plan and the curricula. Where the framework plan approaches Sami language education from the interest of the child, the curricula focus on the importance for the revitalisation of the languages. The third factor functional bilingualism representing both a means and a goal for Sami language revitalisation in the curricula. Functional bilingualism is not further defined in the curricula, which allow teachers to adjust their teaching to the individual child. Summarising, children potentially following Sami language education in Norway are a diverse group in many different ways and it is important that the curricula leave space for adjusting language education to this diversity

Topics: Indigenous Studies, Language policy and planning, language revitalisation, Sami, Cultural interface, curriculum analysis, critical discourse analysis, VDP::Social science: 200::Social anthropology: 250, VDP::Samfunnsvitenskap: 200::Sosialantropologi: 250, IND-3904
Publisher: 'UiT The Arctic University of Norway'
Year: 2019
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