An exploration of Grade 10 learners responses towards the teaching of isiZulu as a first additional language at an independent school in Durban.
The study aims to explore the responses of learners in Grade 10 towards the teaching of isiZulu as a First Additional Language (FAL) at an independent school in Durban. The study focuses specifically on independent schools because these schools post 1994 had to review their policies with regards to language in order to accommodate the indigenous languages of South Africa. South Africa has the most progressive Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) in the world which promotes the use of indigenous languages; this study is aimed at exploring and investigating how are learners at independent schools responding to the integration of isiZulu in such privileged learning context. This study used a qualitative approach to gather data. A case study methodology was used to conduct research at one independent school in Durban. This comprised classroom observations, focus groups and individual interviews with ten Grade 10 learners who are taught isiZulu as a First Additional Language. My findings reveal that learners mostly respond positively in being taught isiZulu and many advocates for the promotion of African languages at independent schools. The findings also revealed that in general, learners were cognizance of the dominance of English and the implications English has for the survival of isiZulu at independent schools. The study also shows the gendered and racialised ways in which the learning of isiZulu is perceived in the school where the data was generated. Additionally, drawing on Bourdieu’s theories of language and power, which forms the theoretical framework for this study, the study shows the insidious ways in which English is promoted at the school, at the expense of isiZulu. The study captures the learners’ perspectives on the teaching of isiZulu and the various school policies in regards to the views of the learners’ on the African indigenous languages in the classroom as well as in other school domains. The study raises several implications for research, policy and practice.
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