n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Complex classroom encounters: A South African Perspective, Rinelle Evans & Ailie Cleghorn : book review

Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



When multilingual learners enter the primary classroom, are they being welcomed at the classroom door? Or, are learners asked to check their home language practices at the door? In Evans and Cleghorn's (2012) Complex Classroom Encounters, they look to the case of classrooms in South Africa and Quebec, Canada to explore the messages that are being transmitted to young learners, and critique a deficit "view towards learners whose non-dominant home languages differ from that of the school" (p. xvii). Evans and Cleghorn introduce the reader to the notion of 'welcoming' learners to school through the metaphor of the classroom door, which they approach through a systematic discussion of South African and Quebecer youth language and linguistic practices. In their description of the intricate intersections between identities, dominant and marginalized languages, and classrooms, Evans and Cleghorn make the reader think critically about the ways in which we 'welcome' and alienate learners into the primary classroom. What makes the primary classroom welcoming, and how do we alienate young learner's language and linguistic practices? In their collection of articles, Evans and Cleghorn articulate the complexities between exitsing and desired inclusive educational practices in South African classrooms and beyond.

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