Fostering multilingualism at CPUT: A space for sharing

In celebration of International Mother Language Day 2021, Dr Ignatius Ticha, a member of the Language Working Group and Faculty Language Coordinator of Applied Sciences, is hosting a virtual event aimed at sharing multilingual practices in CPUT classrooms. The event will feature praise singing, a student discussion panel and presentations from our own scholars and one as far afield as Rhodes University.

The Language Unit sat down with Dr Ticha to find out what inspired him to host the event and choose the scholars lined up to speak there.

1. What inspired you to host a presentation and panel discussion to celebrate International Mother Language day? 
I wanted to expose members of the faculty community to scholarly insights on the subject of multilingualism and language diversity but also to create space for colleagues who themselves create space for multilingualism in their teaching and assessment practices so that they can share them with the rest of us. In this way colleagues would not only be exposed to the possibility of practicing multilingualism in the CPUT context but would also see examples of how to do it. 

2. Can you say a little more about the presenters you’ve invited?
Dr Docrat is Rhodes University’s first post-doctoral research fellow in forensic linguistics (language and law), under the auspices of the NRF SARChI Chair in the Intellectualisation of African Languages, Multilingualism and Education. Dr Docrat has presented at international and national conferences and she has published widely in accredited national and international journals and books. 

Sisanda Nkoala is a lecturer in Journalism, Faculty Informatics and Design at CPUT.
Michael M. Paulse is a lecturer in the Faculty of Health & Wellness Sciences at CPUT.

3. Why were you drawn to invite these speakers?
I was drawn to the quality of research undertaken by Dr Docrat in the area of multilingualism in the educational and legal sectors.

Ms Nkoala and Mr Paulse’s exemplary practices have revealed the possibilities and opportunities that exist for multilingual teaching and assessment in the CPUT context. I was exposed to the work they do through presentations that they gave at the CPUT Language Indaba 2020. 

4. Can you explain the importance of having a praise singer at the event?
Since the praise singer transmits social consciousness, it is my hope that he would raise the consciousness of participants around the issue of the mother tongue and language rights, while simultaneously entertaining the audience. The praise singer, Sinesipho Yekiwe is a student at CPUT and was referred to me by Student Affairs for the Faculty’s International Mother Language Day event in 2020. His performance was received with great acclaim by the audience 

5. Why do you involve students in your event? 
Creating a multilingual space would improve the experiences of students. As the main stakeholders at the university, it is important that their voices are heard on their language experiences but also on how to work towards an improved language experience at CPUT. 

6. What message do you hope colleagues and students will take away from this event?
I hope that participants would be exposed to existing scholarship on the subject and more particularly, the value of a multilingual higher education. Additionally, they would be shown in practical ways how colleagues at CPUT are engaging in multilingual teaching and assessment. 

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