An investigation into factors influencing English second language, black matriculants' attitudes to poetry, with specific reference to KwaZulu-Natal.
There is a strong perception among teachers, academics and researchers that English Second Language (L2) black matriculants and black pupils generally do not possess an aptitude for poetry appreciation in English; and therefore have a negative attitude to English poetry. Another perception is that the apparent lack of aptitude by L2 black matriculants / learners for English poetry arises from the wilful neglect by the previous education system to offer an appropriate poetry curriculum for L2 black matriculants and L2 black learners generally. This perception contends that the poetry curriculum of the previous education system ignored the basic principles of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) in formulating the English poetry curriculum. This dissertation tests these perceptions through a pupil questionnaire and teacher interviews. The L2 black pupils' responses are assessed against their literary background viz. the oral tradition and contemporary black writing, as well as the historical, sociopolitical and economic factors affecting their lives. The dissertation critiques the syllabus used by the Department of Education and Training (D.E.T.):·the prescribed poems, and classroom methodology to see whether it reflects an awareness of the L2 black learners' background, guided by the basic principles of TESOL. The contents of chapters 1-4 are arranged in a sequence that is aimed at testing the validity of the general perceptions of L2 black matriculants' attitudes to poetry mentioned earlier. The research revealed that the attitudes of L2 black matriculants to unjust education system and an inappropriate English poetry curriculum should not be confused with their attitudes to English poetry in general. The dissertation concludes that L2 black matriculants / learners appreciate appropriate English poetry and respond positively to English as a subject.