The category Language Structures and Conventions in the CAPS for English First Additional Language: A critical analysis

  • Christa van der Walt
Keywords: curriculum, Communicative Approach, English first additional language, language structure, grammar.

Abstract

The category Language Structures and Conventions in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) for language teaching includes what teachers often refer to as ‘grammar’. This aspect of language teaching is approached from the perspective of the Communicative Approach to Language Teaching, where the distinction between ‘meaning’ and ‘form’ (or structure) is blurred so that the communicative function of language structures are emphasized. Since the CAPS for English First Additional Language in the FET phase emphasizes communicative language teaching, the implication is that the teaching of language structure occurs in the context of communication events. The questions that this article asks are (i) how language structures and conventions are organised in the CAPS document and (ii) how this organisation is aligned with the language teaching approach espoused by the CAPS document. Arguing from the language teaching approach espoused by the curriculum document, the CAPS for English First Additional Language in the FET phase is analysed from two requirements that have been derived from the Communicative Approach: firstly, the idea that language form is expressed in a context that shows its socially appropriate use and secondly, a whole-to-part orientation that implies understanding the way in which language form can function in a text. Some suggestions are made for a possible revision of this aspect of the curriculum.

Key terms: curriculum, Communicative Approach, English first additional language, language structure, grammar.

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Articles

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eISSN: 0259-9570