From monolingual to translanguaging classroom practice at two Delft primary schools
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Terminology such as mother tongue, first language and second language remain prevalent in South African schools’ language policies. These monolingual terms seem out of place within our multilingual landscape (Banda, 2018). With the emergence of the concept of translanguaging (Garcia, 2009, 2014; Banda, 2018), the linguistic practices that people of the Western Cape (and elsewhere in South Africa) have now been legitimised as a useful communicative tool within multilingual spaces. Despite research showing the advantages of using translanguaging in classrooms to enhance comprehension (Banda, 2018), language policies remain monolingual in nature. By conducting research at two schools in Delft, Western Cape, I am able to show how learners and teachers defy the monolingual structure of the language policy, by translanguaging, to make learning and teaching more comprehensible. Using Heller’s (2007) concept of language as social practice, it becomes apparent how learners become social actors within the classroom, by languaging to make meaning. In addition to looking at classroom practices, I use supplementary data, an analysis of the school’s language policy, observations of and commentary on linguistic practices outside of the classroom, to further support the idea that school’s confinement of language is incongruous with the language practices in the area. Finally, I propose that translanguaging be legitimised as classroom practice and teaching materials also be adapted likewise, by producing trilingual posters, showing Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa terms, for the Western Cape.