Language and learning science in South Africa

Probyn, M.J. (2006) Language and learning science in South Africa. Language and Education, 20 (5). pp. 391-414. ISSN 0950-0782



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South Africa is a multilingual country with 11 official languages. However, English dominates as the language of access and power and although the Language-in- Education Policy (1997) recommends school language policies that will promote additive bilingualism and the use of learners' home languages as languages of learning and teaching, there has been little implementation of these recommendations by schools. This is despite the fact that the majority of learners do not have the necessary English language proficiency to successfully engage with the curriculum and that teachers frequently are obliged to resort to using the learners' home language to mediate understanding. This research investigates the classroom language practices of six Grade 8 science teachers, teaching science through the medium of English where they and their learners share a common home language, Xhosa. Teachers' lessons were videotaped, transcribed and analysed for the opportunities they offered learners for language development and conceptual challenge. The purpose of the research is to better understand the teachers' perceptions and problems and to be able to draw on examples of good practice, to inform teacher training and to develop a coherent bilingual approach for teaching science through the medium of English as an additional language.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:bilingual education; code-switching; language and science teaching; language policy education; bilingualism; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1447
Deposited On:19 Aug 2009
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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