Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Ilene Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sophia Han, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lisa Lopez, Ph.D.


Bilingual Education, Classroom Displays, Iconic Signs, Mother Tongue-Based Bilingual Medium of Instruction, Paralanguage, Symbolic Sign, Translanguaging


The importance of mother tongue-based bilingual medium of instruction in bilingual and multilingual classrooms has been evidenced in ample studies in different parts of the world including Ghana. However, studies on how bilingualism is carried out with respect to classroom displays in bilingual education is very scant and even none, as far as I know, in Ghana. Also, there is emerging research on teachers’ translanguaging practices in other parts of the world including South Africa but research on instructional use of translanguaging is yet to be conducted in Ghana. Therefore, this study examined kindergarten teachers’ bilingual practices with regard to classroom displays as well as their translanguaging practices at morning assembly in some selected schools in the Cape Coast Metropolis in the Central Region of Ghana.

The study used the Ghanaian part of a secondary data that was sponsored by the New Civics Grants from the Spencer Foundation in the USA. Joint research team from the USA and Ghana collected these data in six kindergarten classrooms in each of the two countries. Even though the initial purpose of the study was to examine how classroom wall displays connected with young children's roles as apprentice citizens, repurposing it for this study was suitable because all the classrooms photographed are public schools that use the NALAP in their ECE classrooms. However, four schools participated because they used the local languages that I can read and write.

Guided by the purpose, two research questions and two different data (photographs of classroom wall displays and video of morning assembly) were used. I used qualitative design through visual research method and Barbara Rogoff’s (1990, 2003) socio-cultural theory as my theoretical lens. The photo data was analyzed semiotically (Chandler, 2007, Semetsky, 2010, 2017) and used discourse analysis with the big “D” for the analysis of the video data (Gee, 2014, Gee & Handford, 2012).

The findings indicated that all the schools except one had bilingually labeled displays among their classroom displays (though bilingual labeling was given less attention) with the major language pair for the bilingual labeling being English and Mfantse languages. It also came out that most of the bilingually labeled displays were posted within the eye level of the students. More so, with regard to the sign type, most of the bilingually labeled displays were iconic. Regarding the teachers’ translanguaging practices at morning assembly, the findings indicated that all the participating schools and teachers translanguaged during the conduct of their respective morning assembly. It was revealed that aside from using translanguaging as comprehension enhancer, it was also used as a downtoner as well as alienation tool linguistically. However, the findings showed that English only displays far dominated both the bilingual labeling and translanguaging practices of the teachers.

Based on the findings, the study recommended that ECE colleges of education in Ghana should include knowledge and skills for bilingual labeling in their pre-service preparation since the nation is a multilingual state. Also, pedagogical use of translanguaging should be included in teacher education curriculum so that teachers would be intentional about its usage in instruction delivery. In addition, higher education like University of Cape Coast (UCC) and University of Education, Winneba (UEW) which are the main trainers of teacher educators in the country need to develop curriculum for bilingual teaching with attention to effective design and use of bilingual labeling and training manuals for ECE teachers on the effective use of bilingual labeling and pedagogical use of translanguaging in Ghanaian ECE education. More so, there should professional development on the effective use of bilingual classroom display as well as translanguaging for in-service teachers in Ghana so to promote the academic achievement of the bi/multilingual students Ghanaian schools serve.