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Learners’ experiences of learning isiZulu as first additional language in a former Model C school.

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There are official state documents that aim to encourage and safeguard the elevation of local languages in South Africa. These documents comprise of Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Department of Basic Education, 2011). The policy consists of the Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) of the Department of Basic Education of 1997 that emphasises multilingualism to promote diversity (Abongdia, 2014). Furthermore, the Department of Education (DoE) (2003) indicates that many learners experience challenges in reading when they enter the Intermediate Phase in the South African context. Suwannasit (2019) concurs that globally, second language learners have difficulties in language skills such as listening and speaking, reading and viewing, writing, and presenting. Accordingly, the focus and purpose of this study were to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon under exploration. This study is a qualitative case study situated within the interpretivism paradigm. The purposively selected data sources (Grade 4 learners) comprised six participants to gain an insight into the phenomenon under study. The study used Piaget's cognitive theory and Vygotsky's social constructivism theory as frames to comprehend learners' experiences in learning isiZulu FAL. The Data collection methods used for this study were an open-ended questionnaire and document analysis to avoid physical interaction due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Additionally, the data collected were analysed and interpreted using thematic analysis guided by inductive analysis to make meaning of the data collected. The following objectives guided this research process: To explore the grade 4 learners' experiences of learning isiZulu FAL in a former Model C school. To explore why do grade 4 learners experience the learning of isiZulu FAL in the way they do. To understand approaches employed by grade 4 learners to enhance their learning of isiZulu FAL. The findings of this study revealed that learners experienced successes and challenges in the learning of isiZulu FAL. Through these findings, few participants viewed individual work as beneficial and, many learners felt comfortable working with their peers in the classroom. The study's findings further showed that a diverse group with highly proficient and less proficient learners was preferable during the learning of isiZulu FAL. This diverse group, therefore, advanced learners to share ideas and help the less capable learners. The study found that learners ranging from 9 to 10 years old found reading a text with words and pictures more engaging and fun. The findings also revealed that there were limited co-curricular activities that promoted the learning of isiZulu FAL. This study recommends that the school should introduce more co-curricular activities, for example, isiZulu extra-mural activity. Grobler and Wessels (2020) announce that learners' voices should be heard within the school context. In this instance, there is a call for further research focusing on learners' concerns about the learning of isiZulu FAL. For this, educational stakeholders will provide learners with quality learning opportunities in learning of isiZulu FAL.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.