Ms Yesha Devi Mahadeo-Doorgakant

Being multilingual is a reality that has been taken for granted by myself since my childhood. Growing up with Kreol Morisien, English and my most beloved Bollywood movies as well as song with French in the background, it never occurred to me that multilingualism was so complex and had its own intricacies which were hard to put down. As an English teacher, I adhered firmly to the policy of no other languages apart from English in the class, firmly believing that one of the main problems of the Mauritian educational system was that there was an acute lack of exposure to English despite it being the medium of instruction of the country. I remember that when I was doing my Masters at University of Westminster, when I was working on an article describing Mauritius’ complex linguistic situation my Applied Linguistics lecturer had suggested that probably there should be a change in the medium of instruction, taking into account the linguistic complexity of the island. I was horrified!!!Researching multilingually became a concern when I joined Mauritius Institute of Education as an English lecturer/teacher educator. Teaching practice visits as well as discussion with trainee educators and colleagues brought to the forefront the disturbing reality of the multilingual Mauritian classroom. Almost all educators had to face the challenge of teaching in a medium which was almost foreign to their learners, that is English, hence most of them could not avoid from codeswitching or indulge in translanguaging, using the other languages that formed part of their communicative repertoire, notably French and Kreol Morisien. Having recently started my PhD, readings have brought about a shift towards the adherence to the no other languages in the class apart from English. This complex reality has become the backbone of my study. My research has as focus the translanguaging that occurs amongst Mauritian primary learners, being educated within the Mauritian educational system which comprises of English and French as core languages and Kreol Morisien as optional language. I am still at the initial stage of my study being in the first year of my doctoral study. The doors to researching multilingually are stretched wide open for me!