Grade four teachers’ language attitudes and lived teaching experiences in KwaZulu-Natal schools, South Africa.
MetadataShow full item record
The language of learning and teaching (LoLT) in South African primary schools poses a threat to quality teaching and learning, more importantly, access to the curriculum knowledge by African learners, particularly at Grade Four level. The argument is that the use of African languages to teach African children enables the alignment of the learners’ worldviews and African ways of knowing which allows them full access to knowledge. The purpose of this study is to explore Grade Four teachers’ language attitudes and their lived experiences in managing the language transition taking place at Grade Four. In addition, the study aims to develop a teacher-language-attitude questionnaire and a Worldview Based Mother Tongue Educational Model that will enable the meeting of the minds of teachers and learners using the mother tongue. The researcher used a mixed methods approach to interrogate the phenomenon of study. To investigate teachers’ attitudes the researcher used a survey, and explored their lived experiences in managing the language change at Grade Four level, using five focus group interviews. The sample for the survey constituted of 400 respondents and five focus groups consisting of 20 Grade Four teachers in total, selected from semi-rural and urban schools within the Pinetown and UMgungundlovu districts. Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis was used to analyse data from the survey and thematic analysis was employed to analyse data from the focus group discussions. The overall findings point out that the majority of Grade Four teachers are struggling to teach most African learners at Grade Four level using English as LoLT, and prefer the use of African languages as language of learning and teaching. The main conclusion of the study is that when the language of learning and teaching is the mother tongue of both the teacher and the learner, it allows the meeting of their minds. In the process, teachers explain better and learners understand better. Hence, African learners in using their mother tongue as LoLT get full access to knowledge.