Home language teaching in schools

By Mbulelo Sisulu

An international conference on multi-lingual teaching in the classroom is being hosted by Wits School of Education this week – via Zoom this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference is in its seventh year and attracts delegates from more than 30 countries.

Tatyana Kleyn from City University of New York and Professor Leketi Makalela of the University of the Witwatersrand will argue that monolingual, or one language, bias remains the largest threat for educational achievement among the majority of learners and students worldwide. 

Researchers, teachers, policy makers and social activists with varying interests on innovations for multilingual education will be in attendance and join panel discussions.

Organisers say the conference is grounded on the foundation that using more than one language in the same classroom is the best way to teach multilingual children who are currently disadvantaged and failed by schooling systems that favour one language teaching.

In the Eastern Cape, the Education Department has recently given the go ahead for 2020 matric students to write exams in their home language of Xhosa and Sotho.

The Wits Hub for Multilingual Education and Literacies (HUMEL) conference takes place on 18 and 19 September 2020 via an online Zoom platform.

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