Prescribed literature as a vehicle for the enhancement of 21st Century soft skills of English language learners
Rossouw, Mariana Johanna
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The 21st century workplace is challenging and dynamic, and most individuals do not have the necessary skills to flourish in this environment. It has been thoroughly established in the literature that individuals lack the skills referred to as soft skills and this is problematic. Most notably, the biggest concern is that a lack of soft skills hinders new graduates from finding employment, which means that their livelihoods are at risk. The aim of this study was to illustrate how and to which extent prescribed literature can be used as a vehicle to enhance the 21st century soft skills of English language learners who find themselves in a technologically-driven environment. The study followed four phases. Firstly, a literature review was conducted to determine which soft skills are of value to 21st century Grade 12 learners. Secondly, I analysed two purposefully selected prescribed novels and two poems (Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton and Life of Pi by Yann Martel, as well as somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond by ee cummings and Poem by Barolong Seboni) to determine how soft skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration, can be developed while teaching these texts. Thirdly, I explored how technology can be used when teaching these selected texts. Finally, the CAPS documents for EFAL and HL Grade 12 were consulted to determine what is required of teachers and learners to ensure that learners become well-rounded citizens who will be able to cope and be successful in the 21st century. I provide example lessons on how to develop the said soft skills while teaching the texts mentioned. These may serve as examples to in-service or prospective teachers in future. This study followed a qualitative research approach with a social constructivist world view, set within an interpretivist paradigm. The study was guided by humanist and socio-cultural theory, and it was conducted by means of document analysis with hermeneutics as a strategy of data analysis. The study may encourage and assist teachers in their endeavour to develop the soft skills of learners using literary texts.
- Education