DOI: 10.24412/2470-1262-2023-2-65-73

Abstract: In spite of all language regulations and statutes South Africa has put in place to acknowledge the cultural and linguistic diversity of her citizenry, education in the country still follows the ‘one school, one language’ monolingual approach. Consequently, this has resulted in the systematic segregation, devaluation, and eventual extinction of some languages. This is exacerbated by the accentuation placed on globalization in our curricula and the expansion of English as the preferred global language of instruction and communication. This approach neglects the requirements of learners while culturally impoverishing third-world nations through the degradation of their linguistic ecology. Analysis of both national and international assessment results suggest language of instruction plays a crucial role in the academic achievement of South African science learners. The current study followed a semi- systematic review design, which relies on qualitative data collection methods. We reviewed studies conducted between the years 2020- 2023 on the use of translanguaging in fourth to sixth-grade Natural Sciences classrooms in South Africa. Findings suggest great efficacy of translanguaging as a culturally and socially just pedagogy that also enhances epistemic access among learners taught through a language different from their home language. We therefore recommend the use of translanguaging pedagogy in Natural Sciences classrooms. 

Keywords: Cultural diversity; monolingualism; translanguaging; linguistic repertoire, science education


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Information about Authors: Shalom Nokuthula Ndhlovana: Is a tutor in the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Fields of Interest: Researches and writes on issues of inclusive education, multilingualism, transformation and decolonization of education. 


Erasmos Charamba: Is a Lecturer in the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Fields of Interest: Literacy, science education, multilingualism, inclusive education. Email:

For citation: Shalom Nokuthula Ndhlovana , Erasmos  Charamba, (2023).

Sink or Swim? Choosing to Swim Through Translanguaging 

Pedagogies in a Culturally Diverse Natural Sciences Classroom. 

Cross-Cultural Studies: Education and Science, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (2023), pp. 65-73 (in USA)

Manuscript received 07/06/2023 

Accepted for publication: 08/07/2023

CC BY 4.0