First additional language teaching in selected grade 4 – 6 classes in Western Cape urban schools: The case of Afrikaans
This study investigates the current state of Afrikaans First Additional Language (FAL) teaching in Gr 4 – 6 classes in Western Cape urban schools against the background of the national drive towards the promotion of multilingualism among the learners of South African schools. Based on Vygotsky’s theory that learning is a process where an expert leads the child to internalise new knowledge as well as Shulman’s theoretical framework that addresses the professional knowledge base of teachers, this study used a mixed methods approach to generate empirical data. The literature study provides an overview of the major methodologies relevant to FAL teaching, whilst the questionnaires, completed by Grade 4 – 6 Afrikaans FAL teachers, provided the quantitative data. For the qualitative strand of the study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with Afrikaans FAL teachers. The study showed that the teachers’ knowledge of the curriculum, language policies, language teaching and learning theories as well as methodologies is extremely limited and revealed that teachers are caught up in traditional language teaching methods and strategies which do not contribute to the enhancement of learners’ proficiency in the target language. It is therefore recommended that there is no single method that will ensure effective FAL teaching, but teachers should implement an eclectic approach to achieve the best results. Furthermore, initial teacher training programmes and in-service training workshops should be adapted in order to prepare teachers adequately to implement the prescribed curriculum using appropriate methodologies and strategies.
Key words: constructivism, curriculum, eclectic approach, language policies, multilingualism, pedagogical content knowledge.