The eleven official languages policy and its implications for language teaching
Louw, Johannes Rudolph
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This study investigates the question of how multilingualism prescribed by the interim Constitution of-1993 will affect the teaching of language. In addressing this question issues such as language policy in SA, the extent of language planning done for SA languages, and the use of media of instruction in multilingual societies are examined. Three implications of multilingualism on the teaching of language are also discussed. They are: the language/dialect to be taught, the effect of multilingualism on assessment instruments, and its effect on the training of teachers. The extent of language planning done for Afrikaans and English has proved to be sufficient for their use as media of instruction. However, the lexis of African languages appears currently inadequate for their use as media of instruction beyond post-primary years. Issues of language standardisation and dialectal variation also obstruct their utilisation as media of instruction. Based upon developments in European bilingual and trilingual education systems a new model of multilingual instruction is proposed which provides for mother tongue instruction in the primary school and instruction in the second language in preparation for subject content teaching in the secondary school. To establish the principle of multilingualism it is proposed that pupils learn at least three of the official regional languages. Concerning the language/dialect to be taught it is suggested that schools teach a standardised variety to combat victimisation associated with non-standard dialects. The multilingual approach in education also requires new assessment instruments developed for the purpose of placement and the assessment of academic achievement. A vital aspect of multilingual education is teacher training. This training needs to focus on the eradication of racial prejudices at school, and on producing multilingual teachers who can handle dialectal diversity with sensitivity and understanding.
- Humanities