Scottish classroom voices: a case study of teaching and learning Scots

Jo Shoba

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Research in multilingual classrooms demonstrates education as a key site within which social and linguistic values are shaped. This study extends such research by investigating language use in a Scottish primary classroom. Scots is widely spoken throughout Scotland, figuring in a 2003 Scottish Parliament report as one of two indigenous heritage languages, alongside Gaelic. However, the historical repression of Scots and its linguistic relatedness to English have led to its being widely regarded as a non-standard dialect rather than a language, in fact as ‘bad English’. Scottish English, rather than Scos is the officially sanctioned language of education in Scotland. This study focuses on talk amongst schoolchildren during lessons in which written Scots texts were discussed. Triangulation with interview data served to relate the patterning of linguistic choices observed to the social meanings which participants attach to their language choices. The findings indicate challenges faced by teachers and learners in identifying which Scots forms – their own usage or those found in written texts – will be validated through classroom use. They also reveal the constraining effects on such classroom initiatives of the wider context of Scottish language norms and values.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-400
    JournalLanguage and Education
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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