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The use of dictionaries in the light of language teaching methods

R Ramagoshi


This article takes a critical look at the role played by second language teaching methods used in teaching African languages as first languages. The traditional method of teaching, used before 1984, encouraged rote learning and teacher-centred lessons. This did not foster the use of dictionaries and, if they were used, the lack of a dictionary culture made their use ineffective. Teachers should be well versed in the functional approach, introduced in 1984, to ensure a smooth transition to Outcomes Based Eductation (OBE). Although its inception since 1994 offers a greater scope for using dictionaries, teachers are still unsure about how the syllabi should be implemented. This, together with the lack of a dictionary culture, results in an inadequate and ineffective dictionary use. Some suggestions are made how this situation could be rectified.

Keywords: african languages, first and second language teaching, traditional educational method, rote learning, functional educational approach, outcomes based education, interpretation of syllabi, availability of dictionaries, dictionary usage, dictionary culture
AJOL African Journals Online