A Bilingual Education Project in Jamaica Creole

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This picture shows the obvious joy and enthusiasm that the students have during a lesson presented in Jamaican Creole. This kind of zeal on the part of students indicates that the Bilingual Education Program is doing something right.

The Jamaican Language Unit (JLU) of the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, invited SIL Literacy and Education Consultants, Dr. Ron Morren and Diane Morren, to conduct a formative evaluation of JLU’s pilot Bilingual Education Program (BEP). Dr. Morren presented the results of that study to the Society for Caribbean Linguistics in a paper entitled “Are the Goals and Objectives of Jamaica's Bilingual Education Project Being Met?”

During the evaluation, the Morrens had observed the activities of the pilot teachers and interviewed teachers, administrators, and parents. They visited schools and examined the curriculum materials and project goals and objectives. Based on their analysis of the observations, their final report commented on specific strengths of the program and made recommendations about language use, teacher training, student management, materials development, parental support and funding for the project.

The paper as presented at the Society for Caribbean Linguistics concluded with this: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The picture (above) demonstrates the obvious joy and enthusiasm that the students have during a lesson presented in Jamaican Creole. This kind of zeal on the part of students indicates that the Bilingual Education Program is doing something right. The BEP should experience success in spite of some of the difficulties it encounters if it translates, reproduces, and delivers the Jamaican Creole language material for classroom use in a timely manner, adequately trains teachers and encourages them through supervisory visits.