The "Big E" : the English (first language) endorsement on the teacher's bilingualism certificate : an investigation into the background to and origin of this requirement, an evaluation of past and current examining practices and standards and criteria, a needs assessment, and suggestions and recommendations for sound practice

Spingies, Conrad (1992) The "Big E" : the English (first language) endorsement on the teacher's bilingualism certificate : an investigation into the background to and origin of this requirement, an evaluation of past and current examining practices and standards and criteria, a needs assessment, and suggestions and recommendations for sound practice. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

[img] Text
SPINGIES-MEd-TR92-111.pdf

27Mb

Abstract

South African education authorities demand of teachers a high degree of competency in both official languages. In the Cape Province in particular, teachers are not considered eligible for promotion posts unless they possess the so-called Higher Bilingualism Certificate, signifying their command of both official languages at "First Language" level. In view of the fact that the overwhelming majority of schools nowadays are single-medium institutions; this requirement may strike the objective observer as an anomaly. An attempt was made, therefore, first of all to investigate the historical background to this requirement. The "language question", a problematic feature of South African education since the beginning of the nineteenth.century, was not resolved when legislators chose "bilingualism and language equality" for the Union of South Africa in 1910. The available evidence suggests, however, that bilingualism was actively pursued as an educational ideal at least until the end of the 1940s, and for this reason education authorities placed a high premium on teachers who were "fully bilingual". Nowadays the typical (White) school is a single-medium institution where the second language is rarely if ever heard outside the classroom where it is taught as a subject. The present policy, to demand a high degree of proficiency in both official languages of teachers occupying promotion posts at such a school, may then be described not only as an anomaly, but as an anachronism. A further problem is the fact that the various educational institutions (specifically teachers' colleges and universities) that set examinations leading to the Higher Bilingualism Certificate rarely communicate with one another, and are therefore unable to agree on uniform standards and criteria, or to ensure that such standards are maintained. That this is indeed the case, was confirmed by examination of "Big E" test papers set at three teachers' colleges, two Colleges for Continued Training, and four universities in the Cape Province. In an attempt to establish what assistance and support might be needed by a "second language" user of English in order for him to improve to the point where he resembled a "first language" user of English in his "terminal language behaviour", a comparison (by means of error analysis) of the responses of two groups (an Ll and an L2 group) to the same test paper was undertaken. The available evidence suggests that L2 users may need to be helped to acquire a more extensive vocabulary, but, above all, that they need to improve their ability to handle two crucially important aspects of usage: idiom and grammar. The final chapter attempts to establish pedagogic and linguistic bases for a course intended for "Big E" candidates, and makes recommendations with regard to (i) the content and the form of the course, and (ii) sound examination practice. The concluding thoughts offer the view that such a course could remain useful even in a future South Africa where the emphasis may shift from a demand for teachers who are "fully bilingual" to teachers who have a good command of English.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Language, Competency, English, First language, Second language, Tests, Idiom, Grammar, Bilingualism, Training, Course
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Durham, Ken
ID Code:4225
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:10 Dec 2012 12:53
Last Modified:10 Dec 2012 12:53
1 full-text download(s) since 10 Dec 2012 12:53
1 full-text download(s) in the past 12 months
More statistics...

Repository Staff Only: item control page