The efficacy of a whole language approach to ESL teaching in an under-graduate classroom
This article examines English Second Language (ESL) students’ access to knowledge through early literacy textbased readings in an under graduate classroom. A basic qualitative research design was selected to understand how students perceive and sustain learning through text-based readings while using a whole language approach toward teaching. Twenty-nine students were engaged in a survey to determine their Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile (TORP). Fourteen students responded to focus group interviews. This article argues particularly for the adoption of textbased readings as a teaching strategy for English Language Learning (ELL) in early childhood teacher training. The results of this TORP survey indicate that much work needs to be done in order to support under graduate students’ exposure to skills and strategies for effective ESL education. The narratives of students’ revealed reading gains as a result of their increased interaction with reading texts, the English Second Language (ESL) challenges, and changing perceptions in terms of reading and the understanding of English reading texts in meaningful ways. The results also highlight students’ ELL challenges in terms of low self-efficacy and lack of confidence to speak English. The study recommends further research on ESL teaching to carefully document the outcomes of English Language Learning within Namibian multilingual teacher training contexts.
Keywords: English Second Language, whole language, training, reading, multilingual contexts