Caldwell, David -
Mammone, Giuseppe -
White, Peter R.R.
Language and Education
Special Issue: Language in epistemic access: mobilising multilingualism and literacy development for more equitable education in South Africa
This chapter addresses the issue of pedagogy and bilingual/multilingual education: how best to match teaching-and-learning approaches to the literacy development needs of students in multilingual educational settings. More specifically, it makes the case for what is known as the ‘Sydney school’ genre-based literacy development approach. It argues that, in providing explicit knowledge about the social functions, structures and stylistic properties of the modes of communication associated with academic success and social mobility, it has the potential to address the linguistically based social and economic inequality often experienced by students whose home language is other than the politically dominant, ‘majority’ language of the school. A brief account is provided of this ‘genre-based’ approach, followed by an account of its implementation in South Australia over the last decade or so in schools with large numbers of students who speak at home a language other than Australia's majority language, English. Finally, outcomes for students involved in such genre-based literacy development are explored, with findings of a study reported which point to these students making significant advances in their literacy development. This study is of potential interest to South African educators, illustrating the long-term gains that genre-based pedagogies can afford socio-economically and linguistically disadvantaged learners.