The project developed under the UNESCO/Japan fellowship was planned with four objectives:
1/ Carry out research into the “Indigenous Community and Bilingual Intercultural Education” programme (http://www.cieib.org/) coordinated by Dr Enrique Hamel. In this framework, academic links were strengthened with the director of the project and its various researchers, and theoretical fields such as studies in linguistic socialization and the anthropology of education were discussed. My research focused on studying the relation between the Spanish and P’urhepecha languages in educational projects for indigenous communities. To that end, narrative autobiographical interviews with indigenous teachers from the P’urhépecha communities of San Isidro and Uringuitiro (Michoacán, México) were conducted and analysed in order to reconstruct their experience of schooling at the various educational levels. In the framework of working field trips to P’urhépecha communities, and in addition to the interviews, the “Miguel Hidalgo” (San Isidro) and “Benito Juárez” (Uringuitiro) intercultural bilingual schools were visited, and different levels of classes were observed as were break-times and school activities. On the basis of this research and these experiences, articles were written in cooperation with Dr Hamel’s research team.
2/ Take part in academic popularization activities in Mexico, both as presenter and as assistant at various events relating to intercultural bilingual education. I shall cite in particular one of the dissemination activities I led: I was invited by Dr Gabriela Czarny of the master’s degree programme in educational development (specializing in sociocultural and linguistic diversity) at the National Pedagogical University, Mexico City, to deliver a lecture on “Childhood, socialization and language displacement in indigenous children in urban environments”.
3/ Locate a specialist bibliography to update key discussions and debates in the field of anthropology, linguistics and education through the Central Library of the Metropolitan Autonomous University-Iztapalapa and other university libraries and study centres.
4/ Visit various institutions and researchers working in the field of bilingual intercultural education in Mexico in order to strengthen links with their research and institutions: these included the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP), National Institute of Indigenous Languages (INALI), Centre for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), National Pedagogical University (UPN), National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH), Department of Educational Research, Social Sciences Section of the Centre for Research and Higher Studies – South Campus (DIE-CINESTAV). I was able to hold individual discussions and exchange meetings with the following researchers: Dr Lourdes de León Pasquel (CIESAS), Lecturer José Luis Ramos (ENAH), Dr Ruth Paradise Loring and Dr Adriana Robles (DIE-CINESTAV), Dr Gabriela Czarny (UPN). Likewise, I had the opportunity to meet Dr Fernando I. Salmerón Castro, the General Coordinator of Intercultural and Bilingual Education of Mexico.
Lastly, the UNESCO/Japan fellowship has enriched my professional life in that I was able to contact and meet various Mexican specialists in the field of intercultural education, enabling me to give new consideration to educational issues with a view to achieving inclusive education for indigenous peoples. In future, I hope to invest the knowledge acquired in Mexico for the benefit and development of high-quality bilingual intercultural education in my own country. Personally, living for some time in a country as rich in diversity (social, cultural, ecological) as Mexico has broadened my outlook on life.
4 April 2011