Translanguaging pedagogy in selected English First Additional Language writing classrooms

Nomalungelo Ngubane*, Berrington Xolani Ntombela, Samantha Govender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Research shows that English language proficiency remains a barrier to learning among second language learners in South Africa. This article foregrounds the utility of translanguaging practices in teaching writing to English First Additional Language, Further Education and Training (FET) learners in South Africa. Five secondary schools in the Pinetown District participated in the study. Qualitative methodologies were adopted, using classroom observations of English writing lessons in the five schools. Guided by sociocultural theory, the study highlights the extent to and ways in which translanguaging is useful in enhancing learning of writing in this context. The findings suggest that bilingual teachers creatively employed translanguaging practices for pedagogical and pastoral purposes. In situations where the integration of isiZulu and English better explained writing concepts, translanguaging was found to enhance learners’ cognition of the writing concepts and to stimulate active participation in the learning of writing. The findings also suggest that translanguaging is a useful learning resource in multilingual contexts where the use of English only is an obstacle to effective learning. Finally, translanguaging recognises values and respects languages that bilingual learners bring to the school from home, and this restores learners’ identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-151
Number of pages10
JournalSouthern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


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