WP168 Negotiating language diversity and social inequality: Policies and practices at South City Primary School.



This paper presents initial results from a study of language diversity among students in a Cape Town primary school and of school staff perceptions and responses to that diversity. It views classrooms and schools as sites where policy is ?enacted? (Ball, McGuire & Braun 2012), and undertakes a contextualizing description and analysis linking the details of classroom behavior and school organization to larger-scale education policies and debates. My initial questions were: (1) What are the general relationships between students? language diversity and their socioeconomic circumstances?; (2) Are such relationships reflected in classroom practices or school staff statements about teaching and learning?; and, lastly, (3) Do classroom practices and school staff statements influence the enactment of policy, that is, the day-to-day carrying out of education policies in schools? I hypothesize that these two dimensions of students? life experience ? their language use and their socioeconomic circumstances ? are always connected, at South City, in the rest of South Africa and throughout the world. The challenge is to explore how they are connected in specific institutional settings as well as the wider society.