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vol.41 suppl.1Experiences and attitudes of Setswana speaking teachers in using an indigenous African language on an online assessment platformTeachers' beliefs and practices when teaching life sciences using their second language author indexsubject indexarticles search
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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100


KELLERMAN, Jessica; EVANS, Rinelle  and  GRAHAM, Marien Alet. Perceptions of isiZulu-speaking pre-service teachers' classroom English proficiency. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2021, vol.41, suppl.1, pp.1-15. ISSN 2076-3433.

Despite less than 10% of South Africans claiming English as their home language, it has become the de facto language of instruction. Yet we cannot assume that teachers have sufficient command of this language when using it for instructional purposes. As a sub-study, in this article we report on the oral proficiency of isiZulu-speaking pre-service teachers who use English when expounding content in rural schools. The conceptual framework draws primarily on research relating to instructional communication and Classroom English. For this mixed methods case study, using questionnaire data from 52 pre-service teachers and 18 tutors, we sought to establish the perceptions that respondents had of students' oral proficiency while teaching in situ. Responses were statistically analysed using computing software. Unedited audio recordings of lessons presented in rural KwaZulu-Natal schools during pre-service teachers' work-integrated learning stint provided oral data from which to gauge proficiency using a self-designed rubric. Findings correspond with those of previous studies, pointing to pre-service teachers' oral proficiency being less than ideal for effectively facilitating learning. However, what is considered adequate proficiency and what is ideal is yet to be agreed upon. We recommend that interventions which address the development of oral proficiency required for classroom use be considered. Our pilot rubric may serve as a useful data-gathering tool in future research.

Keywords : Classroom English; English proficiency; language of learning and teaching; medium of instruction; non-native English speaker; oral proficiency; pre-service teacher.

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