Limestone University Assistant Professor of English and Spanish Dr. Jack Knipe will soon present his research on the role of Māori language and culture at an English-medium school in New Zealand at the 67th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).
The theme for this year’s conference, scheduled for Feb. 14-22 in Washington, D.C., is “Improving Education for a More Equitable World.”
Much of Knipe’s research has focused on educational linguistics, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics. Specifically, he has researched the acquisition and teaching of a second language, the various ways in which multilingual people use all available languages to communicate and understand the world, as well as the role of minority, nonstandard, and endangered languages and cultures in education in various international contexts.
His most recent paper combines case study and linguistic landscape research to understand how educators at an English-medium school in New Zealand incorporate te reo Māori, the Indigenous language of the country, in their classrooms. For this research, funded mostly through Limestone’s Faculty Development Summer Research Award, Knipe spent several months at an elementary school in the Auckland suburbs.
“Te reo Māori, also known simply as Māori, has been in sharp decline since World War II,” Knipe explained. “The obvious issues of colonization and forced assimilation are partly to blame. Starting around the 1970s, many activists began working to revitalize the language and culture. This has included enacting policies for the use of the language in everyday settings, including schools. Most of the Māori-medium schools cater to Māori students. Given my background in Second Language Acquisition, I wanted to better understand the approaches teachers in English-medium schools use to teach about Māori language and culture.”
Knipe has been an active member and presenter for the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) for nearly a decade. He has held leadership roles for the Language Issues Special Interest Group within the society.
Established in 1956, CIES seeks to contribute to an understanding of education through encouragement and promotion of comparative education and related areas of inquiry and activity. It is the largest and oldest of 47 comparative and international education societies around the world with 4,000 individual members representing over 1,000 universities, research institutes, government departments, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral agencies across the globe.
“Most of my research has focused on issues of equity and inclusion and this research project was no different,” Knipe said. “It’s always exciting hearing how my peers and colleagues are incorporating principles of equity and inclusion in their respective areas as well.”
Knipe hopes that his research will bring light to the importance of language revitalization while also informing pedagogical practices in multilingual classrooms. Knipe has been at Limestone since 2017. He currently teaches in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and serves as the International Student Support Coordinator for the Equity and Inclusion Office at Limestone.