Learner-centred education and English medium instruction: policies in practice in a lower-secondary mathematics class in rural Rwanda

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



This paper shows how one mathematics teacher, in a government secondary school in rural Rwanda, re-contextualises learner centred education (LCE) and English medium instruction (EMI) policies in classroom practice. Data are drawn from an ethnographic, critical case study and include lesson transcripts and teacher and student perspectives. The study indicates the importance of including non-verbal language in investigations of classroom interaction, and problematises the tendency to equate LCE with student talk in groups. In these lessons, whole-class interactions are managed by the teacher and student verbal participation is limited. Nevertheless, students co-construct and participate in activities and communicate mathematical meanings. The teacher observes and responds to students and enables students to access the English and mathematics they need for examinations. EMI limits student verbal participation and access to the textbook. The study indicates the importance of learning from and responding to classroom realties rather than pedagogical and linguistic ideologies.


Original languageEnglish
JournalCompare : a journal of comparative and international education / Comparative Education Society in Europe, British Section
Early online date8 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85134069644
WOS 000823837800001
ORCID /0000-0002-2892-1501/work/142248560


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

Sustainable Development Goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • English Medium Instruction, Learn Centred Education, Mathematics Education, Secondary Education, Rwanda, Learner-centred education, secondary education, mathematics education, English medium instruction, PEDAGOGY, POWER, REFORM, CONTEXTS, AFRICA, LANGUAGE CHOICE