Thursday, 17 February 2022

Multilingual smart writing guide for undergraduate students

PATHFINDERS: Language Specialist:isiXhosa, Nomxolisi Jantjies,  Alexa Anthonie  and Student Learning lecturer, Dr Vuyo Mntuyedwa have penned a multilingual Open Education Resource booklet to guide students in academic writing. PATHFINDERS: Language Specialist:isiXhosa, Nomxolisi Jantjies, Alexa Anthonie and Student Learning lecturer, Dr Vuyo Mntuyedwa have penned a multilingual Open Education Resource booklet to guide students in academic writing.

In a  bid to curb the dropout rate at university the Language and Student Learning  Units at Fundani have penned a multilingual smart writing guide to assist students with academic writing.

“This project is part of decolonising the curriculum as the students recommended during the #Feesmustfall campaign. [And] It can also reduce the dropout during first- year as language is one of the barriers in higher education,” said Dr Vuyo Mntuyedwa, a lecturer in the Student Learning Unit. 

 Mntuyedwa added that the booklet, which makes use of English with IsiXhosa and Afrikaans translations, was put together to” accommodate” online teaching.

She submitted that one of the reasons that motivated her to initiate such a project was that first-year  students struggle a lot when it comes to academic writing and that she did not want her students to experience what she did during her time as a student. “For example, I was not aware during my undergrad [studies] that Bloom’s taxonomy verbs are synonyms, either the lecturer will use one or the other. Secondly, since I know as a lecturer [that] some of the first-years are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and it’s not easy [for them] to use English as a medium of instruction,  the multilingual booklet will give them a clue of when to use such basic words. Also, I have realised as a researcher [that] punctuation contributes a lot to someone’s references list and that transition words make the work coherent.”

 The online booklet can be shared or downloaded by any student. Mntuyedwa suggested that other institutions can learn from the CPUT’s multilingual smart guide. 

“We called the projectsmart in consideration of vision 2030 which talks about one Smart CPUT,”she added.  “I hope the class of 2022 will gain a lot from the project and we, as a team, are looking forward to produce more for our students.”

The guide is subdivided into the following sections: Bloom’s taxonomy, verbs to introduce quotations or paraphrases, punctuation basics and transition/introduction.

“This is a great contribution to the intellectualisation of indigenous languages and normalising the use of these languages in a space (higher education) that is perceived monolingual,” said Nomxolisi Jantjies, a Language language specialist in isiXhosa who was part of the project.

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za