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They are the last generation to have experienced (as children) traditional life before contact with European cultures in the early 1950s and the first generation to experience the cultural change brought about by that contact – these are ‘the in-between people’. As parents, they want their children to experience the best of both the high technology world of today, and the language and culture of their traditional world.
The In-Between People studies how the Kaugel-speaking people of Papua New Guinea approach the tension that results from the intersection of the old and new cultures. Specifically, the author focuses on Kaugel pre-primary bilingual education, a nonformal mother-tongue education program whose purpose is to increase the children’s success in formal English education and also to increase their appreciation of and participation in their ethnic language and culture. He approaches his work with three purposes in mind: understanding how the Kaugel pre-primary program has been maintained and expanded, understanding Kaugel parents’ attitude toward their children’s education, and describing how community members resolve the tension between maintaining their mother tongue and succeeding in English-speaking schools.
Dennis Malone has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea since 1967, first as an educator in primary schools, later as a mother-tongue literacy specialist for the Kaugel Literacy Project, and as a mother-tongue education advisor to the PNG Department of Education. Since receiving his Ph.D. in Education from Indiana University in 1998 he has served as an International Literacy Consultant for SIL International in the Asia area.
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