Language attitudes and code-switching behaviour of facilators and learners in language, literacy and communication senior phase outcomes-based education classrooms.
This thesis has a dual focus viz. language attitudes and code-switching behaviour of facilitators and learners in the Key Learning Area of Language, Literacy and Communication (LLC), in the senior phase (more specifically Grades 8 and 9), Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) classroom. The schools that form the basis of this study are an Afrikaans medium school (comprising predominantly Afrikaans native language (NL) speakers); an English medium school (comprising both English NL and Zulu NL speakers); and a school that claims to be an English medium school, but where, in reality, the language of learning and teaching (for its predominantly Zulu NL speakers) is English-Zulu CS. These schools were specifically selected because the linguistic ethos of each is distinctly different from each other and because each may be distinguished as exNED1, exHOD2 and exDET3 schools as a result of the separatist principles of the government prior to 1994. This study, firstly, investigates the attitudes of school stake-holders viz. educators, subject advisors, parent component of the school governing body (SGB) and Grade 8 and 9 learners, toward the three principal languages i.e. English, Afrikaans and isiZulu, offered for study at Kwazulu Natal (KZN) schools, more specifically in Port Shepstone, the lower south coast of KZN. It also investigates the attitudes of the school stake-holders toward code-switching (CS). The methods I employed in collecting the data for determining attitudes toward the three languages and CS between these languages are questionnaires and interviews. An analysis of the data reveals that, for the participants of this research: (i) English is the most prestigious and coveted language and is the preferred medium of instruction for English NL and Zulu NL speakers; (ii) Afrikaans and Zulu are both perceived as "low-languages" but are greatly valued by their respective indigenous speakers mostly because they endow them with a sense of identity; and (iii) Zulu is the preferred additional language by English NL speakers. In addition, an analysis of the data reveals that the participants have mixed attitudes toward CS: (i) a few see code-switching as a degenerative form of linguistic behaviour that hinders learning; (ii) a few perceive it positively with the view that it fulfills a variety of functions in both informal and formal domains; and (iii) most attach a neutral value to it, in that, depending on the 'wheres' and 'whys' and how often it is used, code-switching can either promote or hinder learning. This study shows that most of the participants of this study hold neutral views toward CS thus indicating a shift in attitudes toward this form of linguistic behaviour i.e. from mostly negative to neutral views. Secondly, in investigating whether CS is used in the LLC English (LLCE) [Ll], LLCE [L2], and LLC Afrikaans (LLCA) [L2] classrooms by means of lesson recordings, the data reveals that: (i) the facilitator of the LLCE [Ll] classroom of the English medium school does not make use of CS in her classroom but that the Zulu speaking learners use CS during group-work; (ii) the facilitator and learners of LLCE [L2] of the Afrikaans medium school do not make use of CS because it is proscribed at the school; (iii) the Zulu NL facilitator and learners of LLCE [L2] make use of English-Zulu CS; and (iv) the English NL speaking facilitators and learners of LLCA [L2] use Afrikaans-English CS, and the Zulu NL speaking facilitators and learners of LLCA [L2] use Afrikaans-English-Zulu CS as the medium of teaching and learning. This study also examines the forms and functions of English-Zulu CS, Afrikaans-English CS and Afrikaans-English-Zulu CS by bilingual and multilingual teachers and learners. An analysis of data obtained from lesson recordings reveals that the facilitators and learners engage in various forms of CS behaviour in their teaching and discussing, respectively. These forms are: intersentential switching, intrasentential switching, lexical switching and tag switching. Through an analysis of data obtained from the lesson recordings, this research also reveals that the use of CS fulfills social, psychological and pedagogical functions. Code-switching therefore claims a legitimate place as a teaching and learning agent in the LLC, senior phase, OBE classroom. As such, I argue that CS is not demonstrative of language incompetence, nor is it necessarily an interlanguage but a linguistic code that may be employed as a powerful teaching and learning resource by those who have the linguistic repertoire to do so. Finally, I explore the implications of this research for principals, teachers and SGB members, L2 teachers and teaching, and teaching methodology. I suggest that there is a need for the education role-players to engage in consciousness raising as the language policy documents clearly accord CS official status, particularly in the OBE curriculum, and more importantly, because CS is a reality in the classroom. In addition, I suggest that by employing CS in the teaching of languages, learning is enhanced, language communicative competence is promoted, and the achievement of the specific outcomes outlined for LLC by OBE curriculum are facilitated. Furthermore, in exploring the implications for methodology, I argue that CS can be used consciously, as a technique for teaching and learning. Lastly, I suggest that if the Department of Education is committed to promoting multilingualism among its learners, then it should make the necessary financial resources available to schools.