Rhodes University’s PG Writing Circles are really making waves. A delegation of CPGS Writing Circle facilitators presented the joint research paper “Beyond Multilinguality: Unpacking academic voice in writing groups" at the 2018 edition of Heltasa 2018 in Nelson Mandela University.
Following the call for decolonisation of the university curriculum at the conference presentation last year in Durban, we reflected on Writing Circles facilitation methods in the context of the need to transform HEI in South Africa. Discussing the use of home languages in our facilitation praxis, the title of the conference “Dancing on the learning and teaching waves of change” inspired us to interrogate our different multilingual backgrounds. We chose a self-reflective approach to interrogate hidden attitudes and perceptions of home languages which are based on the PRAESA paper by Busch et al (2006) entitled Language biographies for multilingual learning. Over the course of our monthly meetings, we wrote language biographies and reflective pieces and discussed how self-translation could be activated in Writing Circles so as to unlock epistemological access and conceptual depth in academic writing. In our research presentation, we presented our findings and outlined relevant questions which need to be considered when developing new Writing Circle facilitation practices, which create safe spaces to harness emotions, creativity, playfulness and self-translation
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