Research Article

Dual language education: Improving the academic learning experiences of isiZulu-speaking learners in KwaZulu-Natal

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 40, issue 3, 2020 , pages: 317–325
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2020.1855725
Author(s): Sicelo Ziphozonke Ntshangase, South Africa, Sonja Bosch, South Africa


In the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, isiZulu is a dominant language, yet it is not used as the language of teaching and learning in schools. The linguistic rights of isiZulu-speaking learners continue to be violated as long as schools force them to be assessed in English only. The pedagogical practice based on a monolingual language policy is believed to be a hindrance to good classroom practice and does not promote the ideals of a multilingual and multicultural society as advocated by the Constitution of South Africa. The analysis of written responses provided in open-ended questionnaires indicates that pedagogical translanguaging could ease the academic woes of isiZulu- speaking learners in KwaZulu-Natal. The model advocated is not monoglot bilingual or multilingual education where isiZulu and English are used as separate and independent languages of teaching and learning. Instead, a model is proposed which aims at expanding the existing language repertoires of learners in a form of multilingual pedagogical translanguaging, which is the theory framing the argument raised in this investigation.

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