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Assoc Prof Carolyn McKinney




Associate Professor

Room: 5.08.5
Telephone: (021) 650 2757
Fax: (021) 650 3489

Convenor PhD programme 
Stream Head MEd specialising in Language & Literacy Studies


I teach courses and conduct research on language and literacy teaching and learning in multilingual contexts.  My research is framed by a view of  language and literacy as social practices. I research the relationships between language, literacy and power in educational contexts of deep social inequality. I have published on language ideologies in schooling and language in education policy; relationships between ‘race’ and language; classroom discourse and power relations; critical literacy; identity, subjectivity and learning and translanguaging for learning. I am a member of the language and literacy for social justice, bua-lit collective (


Current & recent research projects

  • 2018- Decoloniality and Language in Education: delinking and transforming languaging-for-learning (NRF funded project with Pam Christie, Cathy Kell, Matumo Ramafikeng, Soraya Abdulatief, Robyn Tyler, Xolisa Guzula and Pinky Makoe).
  • 2017-2018 Co-PI (with Mbulu Madiba) Translanguaging as Pedagogy at UCT. Overcoming Barriers to University Education in South Africa (AHRC funded collaboration with UK PIs Angela Creese and Adrian Blackledge, University of Birmingham).
  • 2014 – 2017 ‘Heteroglossia in Primary Classrooms’ (NRF funded project)
  • 2014 – 2016 Member of cross-institution research team, NRF Education Research Grant for project ‘Digital Resources in children’s and youth’s learning and networking’ (Mastin Prinsloo (PI), Ana Deumert, Marion Walton, Cathy Kell and Xolisa Guzula).

Current PhD supervision

  • Soraya Abdulatief: Language and Literacy as Resource and Repertoire
  • Xolisa Guzula: Exploring multiliteracies pedagogy and translanguaging practices in the third space: a case study of an after-school literacy club
  • Beatha Set: An exploration of the nature of meaning-making in Grade 4 Natural Science Classroom discourses in a Namibian Bilingual Primary school. 
  • Babalwa Molate: Family Language Policy and language socialisation in multilingual households

Completed PhD students

  • Robyn Tyler:  Semiotic repertoires in bilingual Science learning: A study of learners’ meaning-making practices in two sites in a Cape Town high school (UCT)
  • Elizabeth Botha: Discourses of language acquisition and identity in the life histories of White men bilingual in isiXhosa/English (UCT)
  • Ana Ferreira: Subjectivity & Pedagogy in a context of social change (Wits)
  • Tracey McCormick: Discourse & Politics in the Production of Homosexual Subjectivities in South Africa: a Discourse Analysis of selected English non-fiction texts (1994-2008) (Wits)