Multiple Learning: What “Ubuntu pedagogy” can teach us about epistemically heterogeneous classrooms

Increasingly, heterogeneous class make-ups, particularly in international and interdisciplinary study programmes, challenge canonical knowledges and expectation horizons of lecturers. Even on Master’s level, a common knowledge base cannot be taken for granted which makes it difficult to set up assessment and quality standards. If teachers assume a shared background and simply conduct business-as-usual, students might struggle to relate content to their lives and subsequently their career aspirations. It is therefore important to connect and appropriate study content to the experiences and epistemological backgrounds of students. Since the lecturer is part of the heterogeneity, this will likely result in a questioning of the salient expert position. It will, however, also open the way for multi-directional learning and teaching. We can learn from Ubuntu pedagogy and translanguaging in working with these set-ups in constructive ways. Instead of blaming students’ assumed incapabilities, lecturers might find it more fruitful to make heterogeneous cultures productive for mutual learning. This enables us to “meet students at their level,” but moreover, helps university lecturers to conceive of knowledge diversity as a resource.
This seminar opens a space to discuss questions of knowledge canon and epistemological diversity as a resource. It then provides hands-on exercises and examples for assessing heterogeneous understandings and potential adjustment of fixed and foundational teaching elements with a focus on disciplines of the humanities. In the concluding part, participants will reflect on the validity, usefulness, and sustainability of a student-infused approach to teaching.


  • Basics of identity-sensitive and multiple learning
  • introduction into Ubuntu pedagogy and translanguaging
  • Relating teaching content to students’ lives and experiences
  • Practical examples and exercises for adjusting teaching contents in the humanities
  • Reflection on relevance and limits of student-infused teaching
  • Exchange on gathered best-practice experiences

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn about ubuntu pedagogy and translanguaging
  • Reflect on knowledge canons and on diversity as a resource
  • Develop an understanding on the relevance, sustainability, and limits of student-centred learning
  • Learn how to assess and evaluate students’ experience and knowledge horizons during teaching
  • Learn how to adjust teaching contents towards students’ live worlds
  • Design practical exercises and teaching formats for student-centred teaching

Trainer Profile

For over 10 years, Dr. phil. habil. Irina Turner has experience in teaching international and heterogeneous classes on BA and MA level in Germany and South Africa. In 2022, she completed her habilitation research project on decolonial transformations in higher education. In South Africa,  the education sector experiments with and fosters so-called ubuntu pedagogy among others through the method of translanguaging in order to accommodate the epistemic diversity prevalent in contemporary globalized classrooms.

This workshop will be held in English and is on site.

Universität: Universität Bayreuth
Seminarleitung: Dr. Irina Turner
Seminar ID: FBZHL UBT WS2223 35S humanities
ZHL der Universität Bayreuth
Nürnbergerstr. 38, Bayreuth
This seminar will take place on site! The seminar room is located at Nürnberger Straße 38 (ZHL location) in the office center Bayreuth Süd, building 4 in Room 4.2.12-13.
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Termine: 26.04.2023 , 09:00 - 17:00 Uhr

Es fallen folgende Teilnahmegebühren an:

  • For all lecturers (academic staff, professors, teaching staff for special tasks) at a Bavarian university with a full-time position (75% to 100% working hours), 45 €
  • For all teachers (academic staff, professors, teachers for special tasks) at a Bavarian university with a part-time position (up to and including 74.9% working hours), 29 €
  • Teachers at universities of applied sciences and persons not affiliated with a Bavarian university pay the participation fee for external participants, 1000 €

Verfügbare Plätze: 12 Plätze, davon 6 frei
Stufe: Grund- und Aufbaustufe
Anrechenbare Stunden: Bereich A mit 4 Arbeitseinheiten
Bereich D mit 4 Arbeitseinheiten
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