Languages, Vol. 8, Pages 131: The Constraints of Monolingual Language Policy and Heteroglossic Practices as a Vehicle for Linguistic Justice

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Languages, Vol. 8, Pages 131: The Constraints of Monolingual Language Policy and Heteroglossic Practices as a Vehicle for Linguistic Justice

Languages doi: 10.3390/languages8020131

Authors:
Beatha Set

This paper draws on conceptualisations of language as heteroglossic practices to examine how the experienced bilingual science teacher navigates between the monoglossic ideology that is embodied in the official Namibian Language in Education Policy (LiEP) within a linguistically constrained Namibian bilingual context. This paper aims to support recent research that challenges monolingual and monoglossic language practices, which tend to ignore the linguistic resources that children bring to the classroom. Data were collected from a classroom including video and audio recordings of lessons, field notes and photographs. The data were analysed through socio-cultural discourse and fine-grained multimodal analytical methods. The data findings illustrate the moment where the science teacher was constrained by English monolingual policy to mediate learners’ access to science learning, and harnessed all linguistic resources that the learners bring to the classroom. Subsidiary to that, there were moments where the teacher worked flexibly across languages, discourses and modes to interrupt the monoglossic ideology that is embodied in the official Namibian Language in Education Policy (LiEP). The use of rich heteroglossic practices is a clear testimony to enhanced science meaning-making regardless of learners’ ‘limited proficiency in English. The findings highlight the need to support learners from linguistically diverse backgrounds through a deliberate inclusive language policy that harnesses the heteroglossic nature of communicative practices and prepares teachers for a multilingual reality.

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