Visual Representation of Multilingualism in Early Childhood Classrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Kari Bratland


In urban classrooms, we find that immigrant children`s multilingual competence is not always recognised (Chumak-Horbatsch 2012). To explore whether this was the case in the multilingual nation of South Africa, I took photos in three first grade classrooms in Cape Town searching for signs of multilingualism, in addition to interviewing teachers. According to Creese and Martin (2006), the physical elements in the classroom reflect priorities that are sending messages to families and visitors, and influence how children think and what they are conscious of (Creese & Martin 2006). The findings showed that the fact that the teachers themselves had a multilingual identity, made them recognize the multilingual resources among the young students.

Keywords: Multilingualism, diversity, early childhood education, urban education

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Categories: 2016, Articles - JETEN, Urban Education

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