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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


SHEOKARAH, Jennifer  and  PILLAY, Ansurie. Beyond classroom walls: The role of a co-curricular English club in supporting second language learning. Journal of Education [online]. 2021, n.82, pp.113-128. ISSN 2520-9868.

Second language learners of English in South Africa and beyond face challenges in acquiring the target language. In this paper, we report on a study during which we worked with an English Language Club set up as a co-curricular activity at a South African high school. We focus on one activity of the club that took place beyond the classroom walls to help learners improve their spelling. While the activities of the club were underpinned by critical pedagogy, we interpreted the findings of the study using Krashen's Affective Filter hypothesis. Using a critical paradigm, a qualitative approach, and an action research design, in this aspect of the study, as foregrounded in this paper, we aimed to answer the question of how learners' attitudes towards spelling may be changed by an activity outside the classroom. Our observations, fieldnotes, and reflections revealed that learners are able to transcend their fear of the language and increase their participation levels when they are in a relaxed learning environment that values their interests; this increased, in turn, their self-confidence. We argue for the use of alternative teaching methods to complement conventional teaching and learning.

Keywords : second language learners; co-curricular; English Language Club; spelling; relaxed environment.

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