Comparison of educational facilitation approaches for Grade R English Additional Language learning in rural Mpumalanga
The Early Childhood Development Manager in Mpumalanga is faced with the problem of providing evidence-based guidance of the best facilitation approach in the Grade R context. An investigation on the effect of facilitation, i.e. play-based or formal instruction, on Grade R performance scores in English Additional Language (EAL) learning was conducted. Literature findings attest to formal learning contributing to better performance scores than play-based learning, yet most rural schools in Mpumalanga use the play-based approach. The English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards assessment tool is reported to have no cultural bias and was used to collect the data. The tool assessed learners’ listening and speaking skills in EAL. A quantitative methodology was followed, using a static two-group comparison design. Participants in the two groups were matched according to age and all had a similar exposure period to EAL learning, a rural upbringing, poverty level, and all were mainstream learners. Inter-rater reliability was obtained since two raters assessed learners’ proficiency in EAL skills. A one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to analyse the data. It was found that the formal based approach contributed to better EAL scores when compared to the play-based approach. Implications for practice are discussed.
Keywords: EAL learning; ELP standards assessment tool; formal instruction;Grade R facilitation; learners’ first language; play-based approach