Recently one of my students initiated telling her news in isiZulu first and then translating it to English. This variation was very well received and bilingual news has become something of a trend. Not everyone is doing it, but more and more children are trying it out.
In our classroom ‘Telling News’ or ‘Show and Tell’ is a daily staple, an essential opportunity for children to practice spoken language skills and share their stories. But like many children in South Africa, and probably all over the world, School = English and this means that my students are essentially being schooled in a second or ‘foreign’ language. Speaking in English, for many of them, is a huge learning curve.
Finding opportunities for my students to use their burgeoning bilingual skills in class is important for many reasons - from simply validating and embracing their home language, to helping them develop translation skills and ultimately bilingual literacy. At the moment my students have 2 hours of isiZulu lessons per week – taught ironically as their ‘2nd Additional Language’ but if we can find other ways to incorporate isiZulu into our English-speaking school day, I believe that ALL their language learning gets a boost.
Read more snapshots here.
A daunted but determined teacher irons out the creases of her brain.