Grade 4 learners' experiences of learning mathematics using English as a second language : a case study of 3 primary schools in KZN.
The purpose of this study was to investigate Grade 4 learners’ experiences in the teaching of mathematics using English as a second language. The study sought to determine whether learners were able to understand mathematics using English as a second language. If they were not able to do so, since English is the language of learning and teaching from Grade 4, it also needed to be determined why this was the case. Thirty learners from three different rural schools were sources of data for the study, all from a deep rural area. Data were collected using a test given first in English and then in IsiZulu, along with classroom observations. Learners wrote the tests at their schools and were also observed during lessons as they engaged in the learning of mathematics in their natural settings. The data collected revealed that learners are having some difficulties in understanding mathematics using English as a second language. The study also revealed that teachers were still using a teacher-centred approach, while mathematics requires a learner-centred approach, as discussed in the section on the theoretical framework of the study. The study recommends that teachers need to use constructivist and mediated learning approaches in their teaching of mathematics to Grade 4 learners who are being taught in English as their second language, and that a variety of assessment techniques should be used.