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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

Winter 2015

First Advisor

Gretchen B. Rossman

Subject Categories

International and Comparative Education

Abstract

Within the context of Education for All's (EFA) mandate for universal primary school attendance, the cultural relevancy of education is particularly salient to issues of educational quality. Drawing from the literatures on Indigenous knowledges and education, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, and mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE), the lens of analysis for this study acknowledged that incorporating students' cultures and Indigenous knowledges within formal schooling may contribute to increased learning opportunities and thereby improve student outcomes. The purpose of the dissertation was to focus on the experiences of one Senegalese peri-urban primary school in incorporating students' cultures and realities. Research participants included school personnel, students and community members. Using a compressed ethnographic research design, this study took place intensively over a period of four weeks and utilized multiple data collection techniques, including participant observation, student focus groups, and interviews. The results of data analysis identified a number of promising practices as well as challenges related to increasing cultural relevancy. One of the central findings demonstrated how the public school system's new competency-based curricular model, called le Curriculum, may create openings for integrating students' cultures and Indigenous knowledges. Findings further provided evidence of how Senegalese cultures and national languages permeated school interactions, entering deep within classrooms, and even as major components of lesson content. Lastly, this study also concluded that, despite persistent challenges, schooling in Senegal may be progressing towards greater alignment with students' realities than is often presented in the literature.

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