Journal for Language Teaching

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Teaching and learning English as a Home Language in a predominantly non-native English classroom: A study from KwaZulu-Natal1

J Moyo, AM Beukes, W van Rensburg


This study focuses on a secondary school in an Indian-African suburb of Merewent in KwaZulu-Natal, an example of a suburban school where English as a Home Language (EHL) is taught to a majority of non-native English learners from township schools. The EHL classrooms were investigated for ‘communicativeness’ and then compared to English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms. It might be expected that EHL classrooms would exhibit an affinity with ESL classrooms. However, although non-native EHL has many aspects in common with ESL, there were significant differences between the two. The most important difference from the standpoint of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) was in the learning content selection, with the EHL settings using more literary works, and so focusing less on the direct teaching of grammatical forms. However, a disturbing pattern was the inability of the learners in both sets of settings to take full advantage of CLT, which suggested that the learners might not be at the appropriate level of language development.

Keywords: English as Home Language (EHL), non-native English learners, township schools, English as a Second Language (ESL), Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), language development
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