From ‘English-only’ to translanguaging strategies: Exploring possibilities

  • Nangura Mwinda
  • Christa van der Walt Stellenbosch University
Keywords: translanguaging, language-in-education policy, English proficiency, Namibian primary schools.


This article investigates English language proficiency development in a rural primary school in the Kavango region of Namibia. English is the language of instruction in most schools in Namibia from fourth grade onwards. In addition to other challenges, lack of adequate proficiency in English has been identified as one of the major barriers to learning. Current research on translanguaging demonstrates that purposeful use of translanguaging supports learning. The aim of this article is to argue that a contextual analysis and a test of learners’ proficiency in their dominant language and in English are essential when deciding on translanguaging strategies. This may lead to possible ways in which translanguaging can improve the English language proficiency of rural primary learners in an environment where the language is hardly heard or spoken outside the classroom.  The paper argues that translation, and preview – view – review strategies are some of the translanguaging teaching strategies that could be used as resources for building English vocabulary.


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Author Biographies

Nangura Mwinda
Nangura Mwinda obtained an M Ed degree at Stellenbosch University in March 2015. She is currently a teacher in the Kavango region of Namibia.E-mail address:
Christa van der Walt, Stellenbosch University
Christa van der Walt is professor in the Department Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University and does research in multilingual education.Email address: