When multilingual learning materials travel – from South African schools to teacher education in Denmark

Project Details


In this collaborative project, we explore what happens when a multilingual learning material developed in South African schools travels to teacher education in Denmark.

The innovative learning material iSayensi Yethu was developped as part of a decolonial agenda to raise the status of African languages in education . In South Africa, despite a national policy which is enabling of multilingual education and promising signs of change in the current administration, African language speaking children continue to labour under the provision of education beyond the early years in a foreign language, English. Multilingual learning materials and texts are almost absent from the education system. In contrast, iSayensi Yethu is written in English and isiXhosa, including using both fixed and fluid translanguaging. The material was created in order to shift colonial language ideologies and provide epistemic access to science for African language speaking children.

In a series of small-scale teaching experiments, iSayensi Yethu is introduced to student teachers in Denmark specializing in either English or Science. Preliminary results point to possibilities for professional learning for student teachers when they engage with multilingualism in a different context. Furthermore, the experiment offers potential towards decolonizing multilingualism and positioning multilingual knowledge developed in the South as authoritative in Northern contexts.
Effective start/end date01/11/2331/12/24

Collaborative partners

  • University of the Western Cape
  • (lead)


  • schools, courses and institutions


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