The importance of the role of language in fostering multilingualism in educational contexts in South Africa

J.M. Baker

Abstract


In a multilingual society such as ours, all teachers play an integral part in the language acquisition of the learners from pre-school level right up to matric. Teaching content subjects in the mother tongue of the learner is of great importance in his/her acquisition of other languages, especially majority or high-status languages. In the wider society, there is a need for language workers, particularly in urban areas where there is a great diversity of languages. The implication is that changes will have to take place in the curricula of schools and tertiary education institutions. The starting point, however, should be the early years of schooling. More people should be enabled to speak indigenous languages and all people should be able to pursue education in their Ll. Teachers who are currently employed could do in-service training to cope with new demands and to enable them to understand the importance of multilingualism. Parallel medium schools and language centres, such as Australia is using, would go a long way towards giving all language groups equal opportunities.

In 'n veeltalige samelewing soos ons s'n speel alle onderwysers 'n integrale deel in leerders se taalverwerwing, van die voorskoolse vlak tot by matriek Die onderrig van inhoudsvakke in die leerder se moedertaal is van groot belang in sylhaar aanleer van ander tale, vera/ die hooftale of tale met 'n hoe status. Daar bestaan 'n behoefte aan taalwerkers in die breer samelewing, vera/ in stedelike gebiede waar groot taaldiversiteit bestaan. Die implikasie is dat daar veranderinge in die kurrikula van skole en inrigtings vir tersiere opvoeding moet kom. Die beginpunt moet egter die vroee skooljare wees. Meer mense moet in staat gestel word om inheemse tale te praat, en alle mense moet daartoe in staat wees om hulle opvoeding in hul moedertaal voort te sit. Opvoeders wat tans in diens is, kan indiens-opleiding ontvang ten einde die nuwe eise die hoof te bied en om hulle in staat te stel om die belang van veeltaligheid te begryp. Parallelmediumskole en taalsentra, soos die in Australie, kan heelwat doen om aan alle taalgroepe gelyke geleenthede te hied.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/13-2-188

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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