Language development in higher education: Suggested paradigms and their applications in South Africa

  • Liesel Hibbert


Against the backdrop of the current global recession, it is argued that strategic literacy development and diversity management may act as a buffer against the deepening impact of the existing and widening crisis of inequities in education in South Africa. With reference to youth studies, a link is made between identity and literacy as important cultural capital. This requires re-mediation of language development offerings, which are often based on outdated assumptions that participants are monolinguals who share the language and discourses of the institution. The author of this article suggests a shift towards learning ecologies which are designed to embrace linguistic diversity and that the following paradigms should be applied: linking institutional literacies to social change, conceiving of curriculum design as a means for creative opportunity, subscribing to critical approaches to literacy, linking student language development to the institutional diversity management strategy, and affirming linguistic hybridity within the institution. Finally, this article presents an integrated strategy for maximising student language development based on an inclusive curriculum model that is compliant with the requirements of a linguistically diverse student population.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2011, 29(1): 31–42

Author Biography

Liesel Hibbert
Department of Applied Language Studies, South Campus, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), PO Box 77000, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth 6001, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614