Teachers use code switching as well as a translanguaging process, alternating and blending languages to help pupils understand concepts. Finally, although our study points to the value of the mother tongue as the language of instruction, it may well also be important to strengthen the teaching of English as a subject in the early grades to help to facilitate the transition to English in grade four, as the curriculum and assessment policy statements recommend. Most children experience a transition from mother-tongue instruction to English instruction in grade four, something that by all reports is a difficult process.Â However, the suggestion that using English as the language of instruction from grade one would avoid this difficult transition is too good to be true. The choice is between English instruction from grade one or starting with mother-tongue instruction and transitioning to English as the language of instruction at a later grade. Hartshorne, K.B. In South Africa, the majority of children do not speak English as their first language but are required to undertake their final school-leaving examinations in English. 4.2.2. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. In conclusion, our research indicates that, as far as we can tell from empirical analysis, the current language policy is on the right track.Â Given the practical realities of the South African education system, the policy to encourage the use of mother-tongue instruction in the foundation phase but still allow schools to make the final choice based on their specific circumstances seems to be beneficial.Â We believe these research findings to be an important starting point from which to take the language debate forward. Home languages are part of their identity. Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of . Education and language experts gather to tackle the issue in Africa’s newest country. Evidence on language and learning in South Africa Due to the high political profile of language policy and practice in South Africa, as well as the work of a number of South African language scholars and research-oriented institutions, a number of important studies on language and learning have been carried out. However, we estimate the impact of the alternative models as they are being implemented currently, within specific contexts of schools, teachers and homes.Â Therefore, we cannot make deductions about what the impact would be if all teachers were able to speak English fluently and household poverty and gaps in school quality were eliminated from the South African landscape. For those who aren’t from South Africa, we have 11 official languages – Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga. THE STATUS OF THE LANGUAGE OF LEARNING AND TEACHING (LOLT) IN SCHOOLS: A QUANTITATIVE OVERVIEW language policy in schools – particularly in the context of recent debates on the status of English as a medium of instruction in schools. Setswana in a maths classroom in South Africa’s North West province. But this conclusion rests on a key assumption: “Instruction in English from as early as possible is the best way to become fluent in English.”. Other teachers viewed African languages as having limited use in teaching, especially in subjects like science. 38, Language Policy and Practice in South Africa, Part II, pp. The research was conducted among 1 094 teachers at about 110 schools across Limpopo. The transition which English second language (ESL) students need to make when using English as language of learning in higher education is a matter of great concern in … Among children in schools of a similar quality and coming from similar home backgrounds, those who were taught in their home language during the first three years of primary school performed better in the English test in grades four, five and six than children who were exposed to English as the language of instruction in grades one, two and three.Â The size of the difference is not inconsequential: it is equivalent to about a third of a year of additional learning for children who were instructed in their home language during grades one, two and three compared with their peers who were instructed only in English during that same period.Â This finding seems to be in line with the thinking of education specialists, who have for many years promoted the advantages of mother-tongue instruction in the early stages of children’s education. Their full academic paper is Âavailable atÂ http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp212013. Others thought code switching was a great idea and recognised its value: I fully agree that it would be good for learners to be taught in their mother tongue or at least allow for code switching in the classroom to allow learners better understanding.
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