A task–based syllabus for English in South African primary schools
De Villiers, Suzette Uvalde
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English is the second language of almost 89,9% of all South Africans (Bull, 1990:3). A concern about the low levels of · proficiency in English in South African primary schools prompted this study. The majority of pupils (both in schools that use English as medium of instruction and schools that offer English as a subject only), as well as many teachers of English are not proficient in English. The aim of this study is to design a task-based syllabus for English in South African primary schools that will address this problem through its potential to provide extensive support for the teaching and learning of English. The syllabus is the single most influential document all English Second Language (ESL) teachers receive, as it directs and guides teaching. In order to propose a syllabus for ESL in primary schools, the following aspects were investigated in this study: the teaching and learning of ESL in the primary school 1 approaches to syllabus design, task-based approaches to syllabus design, current language syllabuses and the present situation in South African primary schools. Task-based approaches to language learning are increasingly proposed as a viable option for syllabus design. There is a firm theoretical rationale for task-based approaches to language learning. Task-based models proposed by Prabhu, Breen and Candlin and Long and Crookes have been influential in the design of task-based syllabuses for language learning. A survey was undertaken to ascertain to what extent language syllabuses from various countries can be regarded as task-based, and what information they specify. Seven representative task-based syllabuses were studied, namely Graded Levels of Achievement for Foreign Language Learning (GLAFLL), the Alabama Course of Study - English Language Arts and the Alaska Model Curriculum Guide: Language Arts (both for English as L1), and the Dutch Syllabus for ESL, the Botswana Syllabus for ESL, the Australian Language Levels (ALL) Project and the The Target Oriented curriculum (TOC) of Hong Kong. 345 The Target Oriented Curriculum (TOC) of Hong Kong is regarded as the most suitable model on which to base a task-based model for language teaching and learning in South African primary schools. Not only does it provide firm support for classroom practice in a teacher-friendly and concise manner, but it also provides examples of how the various components of the syllabus can be integrated in the planning of a scheme of work. A core task-based syllabus for English in South African primary schools is proposed. It consists of a situation analysis, the aims and objectives of the course, its content, teaching-learning opportunities and guidelines for assessment.
- Education 
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