The teaching of English in grade 8 in an OBE approach

Hansen, Jorgen Kristian (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2011-03)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Towards the close of the last century, a new curriculum was introduced in South Africa: Curriculum 2005. This outcomes-based curriculum (OBE) was a radical break with previous education policy: it aimed at eliminating discrimination and encouraging independent learning. This new curriculum, however, left teachers uncertain and confused largely because the in-service training provided did not provide clear direction. This study first describes the attempt by an English teacher to explore the theoretical base of the new curriculum; it then attempts to ascertain whether the teaching of English would have to change as a result of the OBE Curriculum 2005 and whether material selected in the initial phase of Curriculum 2005 would meet the needs of the learners. The survey of the literature on language teaching pays particular attention to communicative language teaching (CLT) with its emphasis on using the language for relevant, real-life communicative acts. In addition, it investigates the origins and nature of outcomes-based education to determine whether CLT and OBE combined are suitable vehicles for effective language teaching. The literature survey also suggests a disjunction between the South African version of OBE and CLT. The strong emphasis on achieving certain predetermined outcomes in South African OBE, with the underlying assumption that learning is linear, runs counter to the CLT view that language learning cannot be controlled. The survey of the literature on CLT and OBE also reveals the need for relevant, interesting material that promotes purposeful communication, encouraging learners to invest in developing their language skills. CLT requires learner engagement in real communication and OBE promotes independent learning and learner responsibility. In the light of the demands made by continuous evaluation and other record keeping, it is unrealistic to expect teachers to design or even adapt material for classroom use. The semi-empirical part of this study attempts to test the appropriacy of the material and its effect on teaching and learning. A qualitative case study traces classroom events in two grade 8 classes over a period of five weeks using a module taken from the material which was in use at the time at a particular school. This material was specifically acquired by the school with a view to meeting the requirements of the OBE curriculum. Learners in the classes were taught by two different teachers, who recorded their observations, in accordance with a basic observation schedule, during this time. Additional data were produced in two sets of questionnaires. The learners who did the module were asked to indicate their perceptions of language teaching in the previous year as well as during the five weeks when the module was , and a selected group of teachers at local schools completed a questionnaire on their perceptions of the new curriculum. The responses to the questionnaires are analysed in relation to the literature survey and the conclusions reached by the two teachers involved. This study reveals that the custom-designed OBE material is not much different from that in traditional language textbooks. It also highlights the difficulties associated with finding language learning material which reflects the dynamics of real-life communication and is hospitable to using the insights of current language acquisition theory, while at the same time meeting the requirements of a South African OBE approach. In reflecting on what is needed in effective curricular change, this dissertation reveals the importance of involving practising teachers in developing a new curriculum and providing them with the necessary professional development opportunities. In that context, carefully designed and selected learning material is likely to contribute significantly to successful change.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Teen die einde van die vorige eeu is ‘n nuwe kurrikulum, Kurrikulum 2005, ingefaseer in Suid- Afrika. Uitkoms-gebasseerde kurrikulum (UGO), wat ‘n radikale nuwe benadering tot onderrig in hierdie land ingelui het, was daarop gemik om diskriminasie uit te skakel en om onafhanklike leer te vevorder Hierdie nuwe kurrikulum het onderwysers onseker en verward laat vole omdat die indiensopleiding nie duidelik rigtinggewend was nie. Hierdie study beskryf die poging van ‘n Engels-onderwyser om die teoretiese basis van die nuwe kurriculum te peil en dan om vas te stel of die onderrig van Engels sou moes verander as gevolg van UGO/ Kurrikulum 2005 en of die materiaal wat in die aanvangsfase van Kurrikulum 2005 geselekteer is in die behoeftes van die leerders sou voldoen. Die oorsig van die literatuur rakende taalonderrig gee besondere aandag aan kommunikatiewe taalonderrig (KTO), met sy klem op die gebruik van taal vir relevante, lewensgetroue kommunikasie. Verder ondersoek dit die oorsprong en aard van UGO om te bepaal of KTO en UGO gekombineerd voorsiening kan maak vir effektiewe taalonderrig. Dit suggereer dat die Suid- Afrikaanse weergawe van UGO en KTO nie heeltemal met mekaar versoen kan word nie. Die sterk klem op die bereiking van sekere voorafbepaalde uitkomste in Suid-Afrikaanse UGO, met die onderliggende aanname dat leer liniêr is, is teenstrydig met KTO se siening dat taalleer nie beheer kan word nie. Die literatuuroorsig van KTO en UGO openbaar die belangrikheid van relevante, interessante materiaal wat doelgerigte kommunikasie bevorder en leerders aanmoedig om te belê in hul taal vaardighede. KTO vereis dat die leerders deelneem aan werklike kommunikasie en UGO beklemtoon onderwyserfasilitering en leerderverantwoordelikheid. In die lig van die eise wat deurlopende evaluering en ander rekordhouding stel, is dit onrealisties om te verwag dat dat onderwysers materiaal moet ontwerp of selfs aanpas vir klaskamergebruik. Die semi-empiriese deel van hierdie studie poog om die geskiktheid van die materiaal en die effek daarvan op onderrig en leer te ondersoek. ‘n Kwalitatiewe studie vertel wat in twee Gr. 8 klaskamers gebeur het oor ‘n periode van vyf weke toe ‘n module, geneem uit die materiaal wat in gebruik was in ten tyde van die ondersoek, in die klaskamer geïmplementeer is. Die materiaal is spesifiek aangeskaf deur die skool met die oog daarop om die vereistes van die UGO kurrikulum na te kom. Die leerders is onderrig deur twee verskillende onderwysers wat hul waarneemings neersgeskryf het volgens ‘n basiese waarnemingskedule. Addisionele data is verkry met twee stelle vraelyste. Die leerders wat die module meegemaak het, is gevra vir hul persepsies rakende taalonderrig die vorige jaar sowel as gedurende die vyf weke toe die module gebruik is, en’n geselekteerde groep onderwysers aan plaaslike skole het ‘n vraesly voltooi oor hul persepsies van die nuwe kurrikulum. Die response op die vraelyste is ontleed met verwysing na die literatuurstudie en die gevolgtrekkings van die twee onderwysers wat betrokke was . Hierdie studie onthul dat die spesiaal ontwerpte UGO materiaal nie baie verskil van dit wat in tradisionele taalhandboeke te vinde was nie. Verder beklemtoon dit die probleme wat ondervind word met die vind van geskikte taalleermateriaal wat die dinamika van werklike kommunikasie reflekteer en die insigte van die huidige linguistiese teorie aangaande taalaanleer akkommodeer, terwyl dit die vereistes van ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse UGO benadering probeer bereik. Waanner daar gereflekteer word oor wat nodig is vir effektiewe kurrikulêre verandering, openbaar hierdie dissertasie die belangrikheid daarvan om diensdoensde onderwysers te betrek in die ontwikkeling van ‘n nuwe kurrikulum en om hulle toe te rus met die nodige professionele ontwikkelingsgeleenthede. In daardie konteks is dit waarskynlik dat sorgvuldig ontwerpte en geselekteerde leermateriaal aansienlik sal bydra tot suksesvolle verandering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6688
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