Do the EFAL CAPS and a selected workbook prepare Grade 4 learners adequately for the demands of English as LoLT?
The EFAL CAPS, in contrast with other subjects, has to fulfil two purposes, namely to prepare learners for Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and to develop their Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency to enable them to acquire English as the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT). However, Grade 4 learners are underperforming on national and international level, especially in subjects such as Mathematics and Science. The question, therefore, arises whether the EFAL CAPS prepares learners adequately to learn all subjects through medium of English. In order to answer this question, the Grade 4 CAPS for EFAL, as well as a prescribed workbook for learners was analysed by identifying and categorising the tasks and guidelines provided, based on the linguistic dimension of Scarcella’s (2003) Conceptual Framework for Academic English. This was done in order to determine the extent to which the prescribed materials address the academic demands of English as both an L2 and the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT). In the analysis of the two texts, it became apparent that some of the competencies for academic English such as sociolinguistic functions within the linguistic dimension are addressed effectively in both the CAPS and the learner’s workbook. However, the analysis also suggests that the micro skills that build up and equip learners to perform these sociolinguistic functions and activities requiring higher order thinking skills effectively, are lacking in both the CAPS and the learner’s book.
Key concepts: English First Additional Language (EFAL), Cognitive Academic
Language Proficiency, Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT), Conceptual Framework for Academic English