School of Education

Education Academic Explores English First Additional Language Writing among FET Phase Learners

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Dr Nomalungelo Ngubane
Dr Nomalungelo Ngubane

Guided by the Socio-cultural Learning Theory, she observed the writing lessons, analysed the types of writing produced by learners and explored the quality of writing among FET learners to understand the extent to which the writing practices and pedagogy meet the expectations of the curriculum.

Findings from the analysis of the sample of written tasks collected from the five schools indicated that learners produced different types of writing: narrative essays, formal letters, friendly letters, formal letters, obituaries, diary entries, directions, interviews, invitation cards and covering letters. The study also found that this is in line with the curriculum which suggests that learners should be exposed to different types of texts to develop their cognitive and creative writing skills.

‘Data from classroom observations, lesson analyses and analysis of the curriculum show that, at most, the writing approaches used by the teachers were in line with the writing approach suggested by the curriculum. Findings from the analyses of the writing lessons indicate that teachers mostly used the question and answer method to teach writing,’ said Ngubane.

The findings from the analyses of lessons also suggest that teachers creatively employed code-switching for pedagogical and pastoral purposes., The study found code-switching to enhance learners’ understanding and thus fulfils an academic purpose, especially in situations where switching to isiZulu explained concepts better.

Her study concludes that the effectiveness of any curriculum and pedagogy depends on the teachers’ knowledge and understanding of writing and approaches to writing. ‘For the effective development of the learners’ writing, teachers must, firstly, understand their curriculum and implement it in their classrooms,’ argues Ngubane.

She believes that successful teaching and learning of writing also depends on the effective instruction methods that embrace the socio-cultural learning perspectives. Ngubane found code-switching to be inevitable in second language writing classrooms where the teachers and learners are competent in more than one language.

She recommends collaborative writing activities in the learners’ Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and the recognition of learners’ home language for the learning of second language writing skills.

Said Ngubane, ‘I knew that on one side of my PhD journey there are sacrifices, hard work and challenges to surmount but on the other side, there is significant growth, transformation, achievement and breakthrough. That positive attitude and determination kept me focused. I received my reward. I graduated in record time. It was all worth it. My PhD graduation day is thus far the best day of my life.’

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