Vocational language learning and how it relates to language policy issues

Maseko, Pamela (2008) Vocational language learning and how it relates to language policy issues. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This research explores issues relating to language policy, and language learning and teaching. It further looks at the relationship that exists between language policy and language learning and teaching. In the research I argue that well-thought out and well-meaning language policies will fail to be implemented meaningfully if there is no clear and unambiguous implementation plan. I also note that the national vision and ideals which are often embodied in the language policy fail to take effect if, again, there is no comprehensive implementation plan. This view is held by many scholars and researchers in the areas of language policy and planning. In my research I argue that universities, as centres of research and innovation, are critical to the implementation of language policy. The work looks at various statutory language policy documents, in Africa and South Africa in particular, that give the task of language policy implementation to universities. In South Africa, there are various language policy frameworks, acts and plans pertaining to the role the universities should play in promoting multilingualism and developing the eleven official languages as languages of learning and teaching, and promoting academic literacy in languages of learning and teaching (LoLT) to those students for whom LoLT is not their mother. The Higher Education Act (1997) prescribed that universities must develop their own language policy, with a clear implementation plan. Universities are also tasked with the responsibility of the development of the indigenous language/s for purposes of their use in various academic acts at university. This research looks at four universities – Rhodes University (RU), Stellenbosch University (SU), University of Cape Town (UCT) and Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and assesses their language policy and plan, and whether the language practices in these institutions are reflective of their policy and plan. The study further explores multilingualism programmes implemented at RU – programmes that support some of the objectives of RU’s language policy. It looks specifically at the vocation-specific isiXhosa language learning programmes designed for the Faculties of Law and Pharmacy respectively. In the study I also discuss the task-based syllabus design, a framework which we have employed in designing the vocation-specific programmes indicated above. The task-based syllabus design is examined as an approach that could offer an effective base for successful second language acquisition. It is hoped that the study will be able to give policy makers and those tasked with implementation, especially at tertiary education level, ideas for successful policy implementation. In essence there needs to be co-ordination between policy and the implementation plan. It is also my hope that the task-based curriculum design model, and its principles investigated in this research, could be used as a basis for development of programmes in other vocation-specific disciplines, and that it could be transferred to other languages.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Language policy, Multilingualism, South Africa, Education
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Africa, Eastern Asia, Oceania > African languages and literature
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > School of Languages > African Languages
ID Code:2741
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:30 Apr 2012 12:29
Last Modified:30 Apr 2012 12:29
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