Translanguaging as a transformative pedagogic strategy for South African universities

Room M37, School of Education
Friday 16 October 2015 (13:30-15:00)

Joanne Thomas:

MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism Research Seminar

Speaker: Mbulungeni Madiba, Associate Professor and Co-ordinator of the Multilingualism Education Project in the Centre of Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town.

Universities in South Africa have over the last few years adopted multilingual language policies with a view to implementing multilingual education in their learning and teaching programmes. The adoption of these language policies and the implementation of multilingual education accords with the new democratic constitution which recognizes 11 languages as official languages at national level and the Language Policy for Higher Education (LPHE) adopted by government in 2002 to promote equity of access and success for all students in higher education.

The aim of this presentation is to discuss the implementation of multilingual education in traditionally white English universities, and at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in particular. These universities still carry the legacy of the colonial era, not least in the dominance of English as the medium of instruction, but in maintaining an ideology of a single, holistic and unitary language which is in contradistinction to the observed students’ heterogenous life-world linguistic reality. Thus the presentation makes an argument for the adoption of translanguaging as an alternative transformative pedagogical strategy for implementing multilingual education in these universities. The current university language policies, although not yet fully implemented, have opened ideological and implementational spaces for the use of translanguaging as a pedagogic strategy at curriculum and classroom levels. The presentation will provide examples of translanguaging pedagogy drawn from the concept literacy project initiated by the Multilingualism Education Project (MEP) at the University of Cape Town.

To reserve a place, please contact Joanne Thomas on

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