Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Teaching Strategies for Improving Reading and Writing in English First Additional Language for Men and Women

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Teaching Strategies for Improving Reading and Writing in English First Additional Language for Men and Women

Article excerpt

English in South Africa is one of the official languages. In schools, it is also offered as a Home Language (HL) or First Additional Language. Home Language according to the Department of Education and Assessment Policy Statement CAPS (2011) is the language first acquired by learners. CAPS provides language proficiency that reflects the basic interpersonal communication skills required in social situations and the cognitive academic skills for learning across the curriculum whereas First Additional Language (FAL) refers to a language which is not a mother tongue but which is used for certain communicative functions in a society, that is, medium of learning and teaching in education.

Public schools in South Africa offer English as FAL (First Additional Language). According to Department of Education and Assessment Policy Statement (2011), many children use their additional language, mostly English, as the language of Learning and Teaching (LOLT), (CAPS, 2011). This means that they must reach a high level of competence in English. They need to be able to read and write well in English.

Even though the expectation is that learners should read and write well in English, there are however, some difficulties. This has now become a national problem in South Africa (Whats up Teach, 2013). Learners cannot read and write well (What's up Teach 2013). ANA (2014) and Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS, 2015) reveal that learners struggle to construct sentences and to spell words correctly. They do not know how to punctuate correctly whereas others do not know how and when to use capital letters. They cannot even spell and pronounce their names correctly. They experience difficulties in English FAL. Other subjects that seem to be difficult to learners are Mathematics and Physical Science.

The difficulties that learners encounter in the different subjects necessitate the need to look at the teaching strategies that are being used to help learners in dealing with them. Several studies have looked at this issue from different perspectives. For example, Saxton (2010) looked at the importance of the mastery of reading and writing skills for the learners to perform well in their subjects. Other studies looked at the different aspects of teaching strategies that were meant to improve language skills in the language of learning and teaching (LOLT) and the language of science(LOS) (Praputtakun, Dash, Tambanchong, Prason, Meatepinitkul and White, 2012). Carrejo and Reinhartz (2012) focused on the importance of reading and writing in the teaching of science.

This study, focused on the strategies that teachers use to improve reading and writing in English as FAL in Mpumalanga schools. The choice of Mpumalanga province was necessitated by the fact that it is one of the lowest performing provinces in South Africa especially in the Arthurseat circuit of Bohlabela district (Mpumalanga Department of Education Intervention Guide, English FAL, 2015).

There are several intervention strategies that have put in place in trying to deal with the problem. They include making it compulsory for each and every learner to have a dictionary and also encouraging learners to visit the school library on regular basis. Even though there are interventions like these, not much has been done on strategies that teachers use in dealing with the difficulties in reading and writing.

The Purpose and Research Question

The main purpose of the study was explore the strategies that teachers use to improve reading and writing skills in English as FAL. The main question arising from this was: What strategies do teachers use to improve reading and writing in English First Additional Language? Sub-questions

* What are the strategies that teachers use in dealing with reading and writing?

* What challenges do teachers encounter with reading and writing?

* How do teachers deal with the challenges?

Theoretical Framework

There different theories dealing with issues language teaching and learning. …

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