Accommodating and promoting multilingualism through blended learning
Multilingualism is a reality in South African classrooms. The Constitution of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) and the national language policy recognize language rights and aims at supporting, promoting and developing the official languages. However, despite the advantages of mother tongue education, English is often chosen as language of learning and teaching at the cost of the African official languages. This study proposes the accommodation and promotion of multilingualism through blended learning.Blended learning refers to the blending of traditional instruction methods, such as face-to-face instruction, with other forms of instruction such as online learning and teaching. Through a discussion of asynchronous and synchronous learning tools it was established that wikis would be used for this study. In terms of blended learning and learning theories the main emphasis in this study is on socio-constructivism as well as communal constructivism.The empirical research in this study focused on the establishment and testing of a conceptual model for the accommodation and promotion of multilingualism through blended learning in the subject IT. The research took the form of a sequential embedded mixed methods design. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used. A questionnaire was used with IT teachers to investigate the language and blended learning context. This was followed up with qualitative research in the form of interviews aimed at provincial and national experts in terms of the subject IT and e-learning. Based on the literature and these two investigations, a conceptual model was developed. The conceptual model’s effectiveness was tested through a quasi-experimental study. A questionnaire was also completed by the respondents at the schools after the completion of the study. Through the testing of the effectiveness of the conceptual model it was found that multilingualism could successfully be accommodated and promoted through this conceptual model.