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

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


Paper presentation in symposium "Multilingual teaching materials across contexts and student groups" (Joke Dewilde, Victoria Roland, Anne Marit Vesteraas Danbolt, Espen Stranger-Johannessen, Robyn Tyler, Line Møller Daugaard).

This paper reports on a study in which multilingual learning materials developed in South
Africa as part of a decolonial agenda to raise the status of African languages in education were
introduced to pre-service teachers in Denmark. 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 English. Multilingual learning materials are almost absent
from the education system. In contrast, iSayensi Yethu (Our Science, bua-lit collective 2022)
is written in English and isiXhosa, including using both fixed and fluid translanguaging. The
booklet was created in order to shift colonial language ideologies and provide epistemic access
to science for African language speaking children. In a small-scale teaching experiment, iSayensi Yethu was introduced to student teachers in Denmark specializing in either English or Science. Preliminary results point to possibilities for professional learning for teachers when they engage with multilingualism in a different context. Furthermore, the experiment offered potential towards decolonizing multilingualism (Ndlovu & Makalela, 2021; Phipps, 2019) and positioning multilingual knowledge developed in the South as authoritative in Northern contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date22 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2024
EventMoMM - Multilingualism on My Mind Conference 2024 - Universitet i Bergen/zoom, Bergen, Norway
Duration: 21 Mar 202422 Mar 2024


ConferenceMoMM - Multilingualism on My Mind Conference 2024
LocationUniversitet i Bergen/zoom
Internet address


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