Ildegrada da Costa Cabral

Doctoral Researcher

Ildegrada da Costa CabralResearch Topic

From language policy to classroom practice: a case study in two primary schools in East-Timor.

Research Summary

This study will focus on language policy and classroom practice in East-Timor, a small country in Southeast Asia which became independent in 2002. In addition to providing a new Southeast Asian perspective on language policy implementation, this study will also consider the impact of globalisation.

Following the tradition of critical research on multilingualism in education in the global south, the study will be based on audio recording and participant observation in classrooms. The focus will be on the ways in which the new language policy adopted in East-Timor is shaping everyday classroom practices and patterns of communication. I will also be investigating teachers’ understanding of the recent language policy changes.

The term ‘critical’ is used in sociolinguistic and ethnographic research to reflect researchers’ aims of “raising awareness”. This is also my personal rationale for undertaking the study. Since it will be the first study to be undertaken in schools in East-Timor, my aim will be to document the challenges faced by teachers and learners as the new policy is put ‘into action’ in the classroom. I hope to make their voices heard in the wider debates about language in education policy in East-Timor and to provide a bottom-up perspective.

Research Interests

  • Language Policy in Education
  • Linguistic Ethnography
  • Critical Discourse Analysis

Research Supervisors

Professor Angela Creese and Professor Adrian Blackledge


Education Students Award (University of Birmingham)