Meaning-focused vs Form-focused L2 Instruction: Implications for Writing Educational Materials for South African Learners of English

Ollerhead, Sue ; Oosthuizen, Johan (2005)

Department of General Linguistics

26 A4 page document in PDF format

Journal Article

In a report on the Third International Mathematics and Science Repeat Study (Human Sciences Research Council 2000), conducted in 1998/1999 to measure school learners' proficiency in mathematics and science, it was stated that South African learners achieved the lowest results of the 38 countries that took part. One reason cited for this was that the majority of South African learners were not fluent in English, the language of the test, and thus struggled to understand the questions and to communicate their ideas clearly. Significantly, however, learners from other participating countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore, who also face the challenge of having to learn in a second language (L2), performed comparatively well. Yet, unlike these countries, which have one common language in which all learners receive their instruction, the South African language policy of "additive multilingualism" (National Department of Education 2002) dictates that learners learn their home language and at least one additional official language. This could be English, or one of the other ten official South African languages.

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