Grade-appropriate literacy and South African grade seven learners' classroom writing in English

Hendricks, M. (2009) Grade-appropriate literacy and South African grade seven learners' classroom writing in English. Early Child Development and Care, 179 (3). pp. 271-284. ISSN 0300-4430



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This paper reports on the writing of grade 7 learners in English as an additional language at four differently-resourced schools in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Because grade 7 is the start of the senior phase of schooling, it is vital that learners achieve grade-level competence in the language used as medium of instruction. Learning outcome five which states that ‘the learner will be able to use language to think and reason, as well as access, process and use information for learning’ (Department of Education 2002) is particularly relevant. The primary research question asked what the writing practices in grade 7 additional languages were, and how these contribute to the development of learners’ writing. The findings were that literacy practices at all four schools privilege grammar exercises and personal, expressive writing. In terms of Cummins’s (1984) constructs of BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skill) and CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency), learners’ written competencies are mainly conversational (BICS). The personal expressive texts which predominate in learners’ writing have done little to develop a formal, impersonal academic register (CALP). Learners need to become familiar with the more abstract impersonal factual genres associated with disciplinary-based knowledge.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:additional language learning; school writing practices; grade-appropriate literacy; South Africa; Eastern Cape; elementary schools; primary schools
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1365
Deposited By: Dr Monica Hendricks
Deposited On:09 Jun 2009
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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