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Multilingualism in the classroom

Multilingualism in the classroom

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Most education settings in South Africa and other post-colonial emerging economies are multilingual and diverse. Indeed, multilingual classrooms have become commonplace in developed countries as well. Yet many countries in post-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa use English as a medium of instruction in multilingual contexts from the early grades. The implications of this practice for teaching and learning are multifaceted. Its negative effects on achievement, retention and dropout rates, psychosocial wellbeing and community development cannot be overstated and are well documented.

Societal emancipation and transformation begin in the education setting, and no transformation discourse can be successful if the issues surrounding multilingualism are not properly addressed. Teaching and learning pedagogies that ignore the complexities and dynamics of multilingual classrooms are simply reinforcing past worldviews and improved learner-achievement results cannot be expected unless things are approached differently.

This book, written by authors from across Africa from first-hand experience in research and teaching, focuses mainly on teaching pedagogy and on evidenced-based analysis and guidelines. It supports, among other arguments, the need to view indigenous languages as assets and resources within classrooms. It is a resource for teachers and learners in multilingual contexts worldwide. 

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