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Seminars and Events

Public Lecture by Visiting International Professor, Kathleen Heugh

Thursday 17 September btw 13h00-14h00, in Eden Grove Blue

100 Years of Research on Multilingualism and Education in Africa: implications for South African Universities

Abstract: Bi/multilingual education has been a feature of education in African countries for the last 100 years and significant sets of data show both successful and unsuccessful examples of policy, implementation and classroom practices. In this paper I will draw on several provincial, country-wide and multi-country studies to show what we have learned of the role of home language /mother tongue, bilingual and multilingual education in relation to student retention, repeater-rates, and achievement. In particular, I will illustrate research findings of and actual practices of multilingual (including translanguaging) practices in teaching and assessment in two countries, Ethiopia and South Africa. After 100 years of reflexive research on different kinds of bi/multilingual education we realise that language cannot be separated from the historical, cultural and epistemological contexts in which learning takes place. Contemporary political and socio-economic changes are disrupting 150 years of a dominant northern (Western European and North American) view of knowledge production and educational practices. We see a revival of interest in the role of reflexivity and praxis for effective classroom teaching and learning. We also see recognition of the value of expertise and knowledge of local communities’ languages and epistemologies alongside international and ‘global citizenship’ education.



Kathleen Heugh is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of South Australia. She is also Extraordinary Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of the Western Cape; Honorary Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa; and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa. She has designed and taught MA and Post-graduate Diploma programs and courses on language policy and planning, bilingual and multilingual education and language acquisition at the Universities of Cape Town and Antwerp. She played a leading role in post-apartheid language policy development (1987-2001) and was appointed to the first Pan South African Language Board (1996-2001). She has been a chief investigator and leader of large-scale evaluation and assessment studies on languages and literacy education in sub-Saharan Africa for UNDP, UNESCO, international development agencies and governments. She has published widely on this research, and she is the co-founder (with Professor Christopher Stroud, Stockholm & Western Cape) of the Southern Multilingualisms and Diversities Consortium (SMDC). The SMDC includes researchers and research organisations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin & North America who are concerned with how multilingual knowledges, practices and research expertise in 'southern' contexts contribute to global understandings of linguistic diversity.




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