Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: 'Languages don't have bones, so you can just break them': rethinking multilingualism in education policy and practice in Africa
Author(s): Reilly, Colin
Bagwasi, Mompoloki M
Costley, Tracey
Gibson, Hannah
Kula, Nancy C
Mapunda, Gastor
Mwansa, Joseph
Contact Email:
Keywords: multilingualism
language policy
language-supportive pedagogies
Issue Date: 21-Jun-2022
Date Deposited: 16-Jan-2024
Citation: Reilly C, Bagwasi MM, Costley T, Gibson H, Kula NC, Mapunda G & Mwansa J (2022) 'Languages don't have bones, so you can just break them': rethinking multilingualism in education policy and practice in Africa. <i>Journal of the British Academy</i>, 10 (s4), pp. 1-20.
Abstract: Multilingualism is widespread amongst individuals and communities in African countries. However, language-in-education policies across the continent continue to privilege monolingual approaches to language use in the classroom. In this paper we highlight the colonial origins of these monolingual ideologies and discuss the detrimental effects which arise when learners’ linguistic repertoires are not welcomed within the education system. We draw attention to major themes within education across a range of contexts: policy vagueness, teachers as policy implementers, and the creation and imposition of boundaries. We advocate for a language-in-education approach which brings the outside in, which welcomes individuals’ lived multilingual realities and which values these as resources for learning. We highlight the ways in which translanguaging could represent a positive shift to the way in which multilingual language practices are talked about, and can contribute to decolonising language policy in African contexts. We conclude by calling to action those working on education and policy to ensure that learners and teachers are better supported. We call ultimately for a rethinking of multilingualism.
DOI Link: 10.5871/jba/010s4.001
Rights: © The author(s) 2022. This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
10s4-01-Reilly (1).pdfFulltext - Published Version207.49 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.