n Educare - Fostering language development in multicultural schools in South Africa

Volume 31, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-8829



Language is a crucial means of gaining access to important knowledge and skills and thus determines academic achievement. For this reason, language diversity has a powerful influence on the outcomes of schooling in a multicultural society. Attrition rates among linguistically diverse school populations worldwide show that learners with a limited proficiency in the language of learning are most at risk of underachievement. This article deals with theories of first and second language acquisition and the implications for classroom practice in multicultural schools. Attention is given to Cummin's model of second language acquisition and the notions of additive and subtractive bilingualism. Guidelines are suggested for creating a school environment which fosters language learning. Strategies for school leadership, classroom teaching, parent involvement and teacher development are provided.

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