North-West University: Language short learning programme to bring multilingualism to the forefront

Language traverses borders. It connects us, inspires us, educates us and enriches us. It is the fundamental tool that allows us to connect with each other. And, in a diverse, multilingual society, the more we appreciate each other’s native language, the fewer boundaries there will be between us.

That is why the School for Language Education in the Faculty of Education, in collaboration with the Language Directorate, designed a short learning programme on multilingual pedagogies and will help to enable staff from every faculty to implement some degree of multilingualism in their lectures.

“I think it is important for academics to attend the course, as they will learn about the theoretical foundations of multilingual pedagogies, the possibilities for using multilingual pedagogies as a transformative tool in higher education, how to apply helpful teaching strategies in multilingual classrooms and how to plan practical lectures for first-year modules to promote functional multilingualism in higher-education contexts,” says Dr Keaobaka Seshoka, director of the North-West University (NWU) Language Directorate.

“Participants can expect interactive sessions and practical lessons about promoting multilingualism in higher education and how they can take advantage of multilingualism as a valuable resource to facilitate learning.”

According to Anele Gobodwana, a lecturer at Language Education and associate of the Language Directorate, “The multilingual pedagogies short learning course was designed to provide lecturers with some knowledge of other languages in the university. According to its language policy, the NWU recognises four languages, namely English, Afrikaans, Setswana and Sotho. The main challenge is to teach in multilingual classrooms. It is hoped that, once piloted successfully, this course will definitely enable people to become better acquainted with more languages. South Africa is a diverse country and we ought to at least know the languages of the province in which we live.”