PhD student, Ms Thulebona Shawe of the School of Education, presented a paper at the National Association of African American Studies (NAAAS) conference in Dallas in the United States.
The paper was titled: Who to Blame? The Unavailability of the isiZulu First Additional Language (FAL) Books or Materials in Ex-Model C Schools in South Africa.
Shawe’s study explores the practices and strategies used by Grade 4 IsiZulu First Additional Language (FAL) teachers when teaching and promoting reading comprehension in an urban context. According to Shawe, her study aims to gain an understanding of the strategies used by the isiZulu FAL teachers when teaching reading comprehension in IsiZulu.
‘Most researchers focus on the strategies used in teaching English comprehension as a FAL. Instead, I took the initiative to break the stereotype and conduct the study in IsiZulu FAL.’
Findings revealed that because teachers were using different strategies and practices, not all of them were well understood by learners. As a result, their (learners’) response towards reading IsiZulu comprehension was varied.
Shawe also noted that all the teachers involved in the study complained about the unavailability of IsiZulu FAL books and/or materials.
‘The availability of isiZulu textbooks and teaching material may have the potential of influencing teachers to use the appropriate teaching strategies during the reading comprehension in isiZulu FAL. The result of this is that the learners may understand the language easier than when there is no material at all for isiZulu FAL.
‘This will increase the possibility of bringing back pride into South African indigenous languages as early as primary school. Rather than selecting Afrikaans, learners in former Model C schools may instead choose IsiZulu as an additional language,’ said Shawe.
During the conference, Shawe was awarded a certificate of recognition for her scholarship and excellent presentation of research from NAAAS Executive Director, Dr Lemuel Berry.