Prof Christa van der Walt

Bio of Prof Christa van der Walt


Christa van der Walt is an emerita professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Her research focuses on multilingual learning and teaching and the role of English in multilingual contexts. She has published widely, contributing chapters to 16 books, co-editing three and she published the book Multilingual higher education, published by Multilingual Matters in 2013. Her latest publication is a book co-edited with Dr V Pfeiffer, entitled Multilingual classroom contexts: Transitions and transactions, published by SunMedia.


Christa van der Walt is 'n emerita professor in die Departement Kurrikulumstudie aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch, Suid-Afrika. Haar navorsing fokus op meertalige leer en onderrig en die rol van Engels in meertalige kontekste. Sy het wyd gepubliseer, hoofstukke bygedra tot 16 boeke, mederedigering van drie en sy het die boek Multilingual higher education, wat in 2013 deur Multilingual Matters uitgegee is, gepubliseer. Haar jongste publikasie is 'n boek wat saam met Dr V Pfeiffer geredigeer is, getiteld Multilingual classroom contexts: Transitions and transactions, uitgegee deur SunMedia.

Abstract To be presented

Possibilities for multilingual education during lockdowns.

During the official lockdown periods in 2020 and 2021, educational institutions had to come up with innovative ideas for teaching and learning. In the aftermath of these lockdowns, changes had to be made to accommodate measures that would prevent a rise in infections, like physical distancing. Institutions could not continue with face-to-face teaching as they used to do and now online materials and remote learning seem to have become a more permanent feature of teaching and learning. From the perspective of institutions it becomes difficult to maintain multilingual teaching practices like providing materials in more than one language and using more than one language in the classroom. However, other multilingual teaching practices have become possible, like providing podcasts in other languages or providing contact sessions with students in different languages because space and time on a timetable are not factors anymore. Students (at all levels of education) may have been able to draw on multilingual support from parents and family members, rather than their fellow students. However, they may also have decided to simply stick with one language if there was no support in other languages. In this paper I will report on the first phase of a project to investigate this issue by presenting quantitative data collected from university students and qualitative data collected from secondary school teachers, in an attempt to determine what happened during the lockdown periods.