English language teaching and learning in the African preschool and educational achievement at grade 1 : a case study

Rendel, Philip Boudewijn (2004) English language teaching and learning in the African preschool and educational achievement at grade 1 : a case study. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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In 1998, seventy per cent of children in South Africa failed and had to repeat the Grade 1 year. This is the result of a number of factors, among them academic and cultural readiness for school. Many primary schools in South Africa teach through English, a language that is not the home language of the majority of learners. Despite recent legislation aimed at improving preschool facilities and teacher capacity, there has been insufficient consideration of which languages are taught and how they should be taught to children before they arrive at Grade 1. This study sets out to explore whether there is a relational link between preschool English language teaching and learning and subsequent educational achievement at Grade 1. It also sketches out possible recommendations for improving the teaching and learning of English in the sample schools. The study does not attempt to enter the debate over choice of language of teaching and learning (LoLT). In this longitudinal case study, four children from two different preschools, (one mainly isiXhosa medium and one English medium), were observed in their classroom environments over a period of four months. The following year, the same children were observed in their respective Grade 1 classrooms, all of which were English medium either entirely or to a degree. The parents of all four children were interviewed in their home environment, as were their teachers. The study found that there is a significant communication gap between preschool teachers and Grade 1 teachers. This was combined with a self-confessed need amongst some teachers for increased training in teaching through English. Low motivation and limited professional experience in some cases contributed to a preschool language-learning environment that lacked many of the factors identified as being essential for a positive learning environment in early childhood There was in addition a clear bias in many sites towards universality of ECD prinCiples with little regard for the hegemony of Western pedagogy, particularly in the area of literacy acquisition. The study concludes by suggesting some ways in which this situation could be improved in order to enable preschool children to cope better with the demands of Grade 1.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:English, Language, Teaching, Learning, Children, Teachers, Parents, Preschools, Primary schools, Educational achievement, Training
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisors:De Klerk, Vivian
ID Code:4235
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:11 Dec 2012 12:15
Last Modified:11 Dec 2012 12:15
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