Translanguaging as an approach to address language inequality in South African higher education: summary writing skills development
Literacy challenges among the majority of African-language speaking students learning through the medium of English impact on unequal throughput in South African higher education. To address this social injustice issue, academic literacy practitioners have a critical role to play in the inclusion of linguistic diversity in higher education. This requires that the curriculum be revised in such a way that classroom activities and assessments give recognition to students’ African languages. In this paper, we outline how translanguaging as a teaching and learning approach promises to develop literacy in both the students’ African languages and English. The paper describes a summary skills development teaching approach and its accompanying activities which enable the students to move between isiZulu and English. The summary writing activities are followed by a guided reflection note from students on their perceptions and experiences of the new communicative approach that has been introduced to them. The majority of participants express positive perceptions of this approach as they find it familiar to what they are used to doing when learning on their own. It is hoped that the translanguaging approach would contribute to the promotion of equality in language and literacy development in the South African higher education sector.
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