Classroom talk : lowered affective filters and ESL proficiency in arts and culture classrooms.
This case study explores the impact of a specially designed programme of communicative strategies: role-play, group-work, pair-work, and information gap activities, on English second language proficiency. The aim of this programme is to promote teacher guided, constructive learner talk in the outcomes-based education (OBE) classroom. The case study, which took place in a multilingual secondary school in Durban, focused on four groups of Grade 8 learners in 2003, and the same four groups of learners in Grade 9 in 2004. This thesis presents an account of my research in three parts and nine chapters. Part I introduces and locates the study. Part 2 presents theory and evidence to support the core arguments presented, the design of the project, and its methodology. Part 3 focuses on the research process, the findings and the implications for future policy and practice. In Chapter 1 the key issues and questions for the exploration of pedagogical strategies for verbal interaction are presented. Language pedagogy in South African schools from the onset of the apartheid era to the present is reflected on, to show that past methods have disadvantaged ESL learners. The history of language policy and practice in African education in South Africa from 1948 to 2003 is reviewed in Chapter 2. The aim is to illustrate that language policy and practice can have a positive impact by lowering the Affective Filter of ESL learners. In Chapter 3 a review of research on English second language learning is offered to support the theoretical framework. The principles of pedagogy that inform the design of the Classroom Talk Programme are the focus of Chapter 4. Chapter 5 outlines a design for a Classroom Talk Programme and interactive tasks in three Units. Chapter 6 considers possible research methodologies, the quasi-experimental research process, the study context and the sample. Part 3 presents the findings of the CT Programme organized into themes. Chapter 7 focuses on the learner and educator perceptions of lowered Affective Filters and learner confidence and proficiency and the implications for assessment for progression purposes. The third theme, which is the focus of Chapter 8, is concerned with managing pedagogy and assessment in large 'multilingual' classrooms. Finally, Chapter 9 examines the issues surrounding micro school-based language policies and practices. The CT Programme is critically reflected on in relation to its advantages and disadvantages and what has been achieved in this case study.