Mediating epistemic access through everyday language resources in an English language classroom

  • Dumisile Mkhize


In most rural and township English additional language classrooms, everyday language discursive practices of bi/multilingual students are underutilised. This study reports on how grade 4 emergent isiZulu-English bilingual children used their everyday language resources as a tool for epistemic access. Drawing on translanguaging, this paper aims to support recent research that challenges monolingual and monoglossic language practices, which tend to limit children’s learning and complex identities. Data were collected from classroom observational notes, video recordings, and interviews with the teacher, the learners, and the principal. Findings show that, despite classroom practices that constrained children’s learning, children who recruited diverse linguistic resources created a space to engage in meaningful learning and represent their multiple identities beyond the stereotypical ones. I conclude the paper by calling for pedagogical practices that support inclusion of learners’ everyday language discursive practices in order to enhance effective learning and support learners’ multiple identities.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614