Academic (institutional) support to first year students who have limited proficiency in English as language of learning and teaching at a South African university : lecturers' experiences.
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This qualitative case study was carried out in the School of Education, Edgewood Campus, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. The study had two objectives: firstly, to understand lecturers’ experiences of how first year student-teachers’ abilities in the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT) affect their learning outcomes. Secondly, to explore lecturers’ evaluations of the academic support that is available on the Edgewood Campus to improve students’ LoLT abilities. Data were collected from consenting participants through face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Three concepts comprised the framework informing the analysis of data: inclusive education, epistemological access and the concept of the Whole School approach to the development of Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP). The findings indicate that students with limited proficiency in the LoLT tend to withdraw from participating in class discussions; often refrain from seeking lecturer assistance; are likely to plagiarise during assignments; and tend to perform poorly in examinations. Overall, the six participants found support provided to students with limited English language proficiency on the Edgewood Campus of UKZN to be negatively affected by an unplanned mass-enrolment. The participants also argue that the designated support is insufficient because it is not cross disciplinary and it is not sustained beyond the first year of study.
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