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Multilingual Higher Education Beyond English Medium Orientations Author: Christa van der Walt

Paperback - 216 pages
12 Apr 2013
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156 (R8vo)


The general perception that a good command of English is enough to gain access and to be successful in higher education hides the complexity of learning and teaching in multilingual environments, and this book shows that all higher education environments are multilingual to some extent. Strategies like translation, interpreting and switching from one language to another not only support learning but also build competence for multilingual professional environments. Whether institutions focus on widening access to minoritised communities or whether they want to attract more international students, the book argues that a multilingual pedagogy is needed to improve student access and success. Building on work by Nancy Hornberger, Colin Baker and Ofelia García, the book extends strategies and techniques from bilingual education at school level to multilingual higher education.


Trailblazing in its challenge of the sole role of English in shaping multilingual higher education, this book not only offers readers practical information on structures and pedagogies being used in multilingual higher education across the globe, but theorizes what it all means in a context of widened access to universities and increased transnational mobility. A comprehensive, well-written integration of scholarship on multiliteracies, language planning, pedagogies, and higher education that is bound to become a classic in its field.
Ofelia García, City University of New York, USA

Multilingualism in higher education is increasingly important with regard to the growing mobility of students across the globe and the hidden influence that higher education has on curricula of secondary and primary education, promoting English as a 'lingua franca' for instance. Van der Walt has written an overview of research in this pressing field of multilingualism, presenting a model of critical insight. It conveys with remarkable context-sensitive understanding the situation of higher education in this time of globalization to the researcher and interested scholar.
Gudrun Ziegler, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Author Biography:

Christa van der Walt has been teaching in South African multilingual environments for the past 25 years. Her experience includes secondary schools and higher education institutions in privileged as well as township contexts. The acknowledgement of other languages in the classroom, and in English language classrooms in particular, has been an important theme in her work since the late nineties. In the South African context this stance is particularly important as a means to widen access to higher education and to increase the status of minoritised languages.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate Research / Professional

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