Original Research

A Circle of Learning: The impact of a narrative multilingualism approach on in-service teachers’ literacy pedagogies

Belinda Mendelowitz, Harriet Davis
Reading & Writing | Vol 2, No 1 | a12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v2i1.12 | © 2011 Belinda Mendelowitz, Harriet Davis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 May 2011 | Published: 25 May 2011

About the author(s)

Belinda Mendelowitz, Languages Division, Wits School of Education
Harriet Davis, Languages Division, Wits School of Education

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This paper explores the impact of a narrative multilingualism approach on in-service primary school teachers who attended the Advanced Certi"cate of Education (ACE) Languages course at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2009. The teachers wrote their own language narratives and were required to implement language narrative work in their classrooms. The paper is a case study of three teachers’ implementation of multilingual narrative pedagogy, and explores the ways in which each teacher translates this pedagogy into their specific contexts. Theoretically, the paper attempts to deepen and extend narrative multilingualism as an approach to language teaching. The notions of uptake and pedagogical translation are explored at various levels, namely, the teachers’ uptake of a multilingual narrative approach and the learners’ uptake. The most striking aspect of the data, across all teachers, is the process and dynamics unleashed in the classroom space. The process of sharing language narratives reconfigured dynamics in the classroom and opened up the classroom space for teachers and learners. The interventions that the pedagogy of narrative multilingualism afforded enabled the validation of linguistic diversity. In a society where xenophobia and linguicism is prevalent, such interventions can play a valuable role in changing attitudes and teaching learners to value difference. Furthermore, previously silenced learners found their voices and participated more in class activities.


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