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Patrick Amoyaw recently completed an MA in Applied Linguistics at Reading.

The Department nominated him for the British Council's Master's Dissertation Award programme for which he is listed under 'Commendations'. Read more about this below.

The Teaching English website have published his thesis.

13th International Symposium on Bilingualism

The Department of English Language and Linguistics is delighted to report that Patrick Amoyaw presented a paper on English medium instruction in Ghana at the 13th International Symposium on Bilingualism that was held online in Warsaw in July 2021. The paper is based on Patrick’s MA thesis on this topic, for which he obtained a commendation from the British Council. In his work, Patrick shows that implementing a strict English only policy in the upper primary is not realistic in the Ghanaian contexts studied in the project. Detailed analyses of classroom interaction reveal how primary school teachers in Ghana at all levels use the children’s first languages, in addition to English, to help them understand the content of the lessons.

Patrick’s supervisor, Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller, said:

“Patrick has made a major contribution to knowledge in the field by revealing the importance of using children’s first languages in school to support learning. I am delighted this work has been presented to an international audience of experts in the field. His work has important implications for policy makers in Ghana and other contexts where English Medium Instruction is practised.”

British Council's master's dissertation award programme nomination

When asked how he feels about his nomination by the Department, Patrick responded:

 "I feel so happy and proud of myself that amidst all the challenges, my first ever dissertation was recognised and acknowledged."

"I'm grateful to all the lecturers in my department for their dedication and hard work. A special thank you goes to Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller for her encouragement and supervision."

Patrick's supervisor, Jeanine Treffers- Daller, said:

"We hope that Patrick will benefit from his study personally for his own teaching practice, but will also be able to advise other stakeholders on the importance of preserving the students' mother tongues and using it in the classroom."

The Head of School, Professor Gail Marshall, has also congratulated Patrick on this important achievement.

Choosing a dissertation subject

Patrick, with the help of his supervisor, chose the following for his dissertation subject: 'What are the practices of EMI (English Medium Instruction) in Ghanaian public schools and to what extent do teachers use the L1 (first language) to facilitate learning?'

"We brainstormed and we came up with the topic EMI with much focus on Ghanaian public schools. My experience in teaching in Ada, peri-urban area in Ghana, where local languages were used in teaching also played a major role in the decision-making."

Ghana is a multilingual country where around 49 different languages and dialects are spoken. Patrick's study provides detailed analyses of English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) in schools in Ghana and provides in-depth insights into current language policies as well their implementation in schools. It provides key evidence that children's first languages should not just be used in the lower primary but continue to be used in the upper primary school.

Building on modules

Patrick's favourite module on the MA in Applied Linguistics is Second Language Learning Principles and this influenced his dissertation subject:

"I appreciated the fact that learning a second language connects you to a new group of people and their culture. With the exposure I have gained from the various modules I have studied, I believe I'm ready for the education sector worldwide."

Preparing for a career

Studying an MA in Applied Linguistics at Reading and having the opportunity to work as a support teacher at a number of placement schools nearby, has given Patrick the preparation for his future career. Looking to the future, he says:  

"As a then professional teacher in my country, Ghana, I believe this degree will increase my chances of securing a teaching role in the British Army."

Looking back over his student experience at Reading

"The tolerance and the professionalism exhibited by the staff was second to none. The level of commitment shown by my lecturers really motivated me to put in a lot of work." 

"If you want world-class tuition from dedicated lecturers who would not rest until you achieve your dreams, then the University of Reading is the place for you."

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