Teaching English oral communication to isiZulu-speaking learners in a secondary school : a self-study.
Ndaleni, Thokozani Phillip.
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The purpose of my self-study was to improve my teaching of English oral communication to IsiZulu-speaking learners. I was concerned because learners in the secondary school where I teach were underperforming in English oral communication. Therefore, I decided to examine my personal history to explore how my experiences of learning oral communication might have influenced how I was teaching my learners. I also wanted to develop new teaching strategies to enhance learners’ English oral communication. I employed dialogism as a theoretical lens to better understand the concept of oral communication. My qualitative selfstudy took place in the Grade 10 classroom where I was teaching. I was the main participant. 42 Grade 10 learners and five critical friends (fellow Master of Education students) were the other participants. I employed two self-study research methods to generate data. The personal history self-study method enabled me to explore how a better understanding of my past learning and teaching experiences could enhance my present and future teaching. In addition, I used the developmental portfolio self-study method to keep track of the effectiveness of the new teaching strategies that I experimented with. The data sources for this study included my reflective journal, photographs, audio-recordings of my teaching and learners’ responses, lesson plans, learners’ written work, marking rubrics and audio-recordings of my conversations with critical friends (my fellow students). Four themes emerged as key to the teaching of oral communication: (a) oral exchanges; (b) socio-cultural contexts; (c) emotions and relationships; and (d) multisensory learning processes. In exploring my personal history and current teaching practice, I realised that the spirit of Ubuntu (the idea that people are not just individuals but live and care for each other in a community) is embodied in these themes. My self-study research enabled me to re-examine my past and present personal and professional experiences. I found that the way I had learned English oral communication at school had impacted negatively on my own teaching. Additionally, I became mindful of how some of my teaching strategies were limiting my learners’ progress. Through my study, I discovered some creative and participatory strategies to enhance the teaching of English oral communication.