Plotting pedagogy in a rural South African English classroom: A Legitimation Code Theory analysis

Fiona Margaret Jacskon


Poetry instruction in South African English Additional Language (EAL) classrooms is in sharp decline, while little empirical research exists to shed light on this situation. This paper describes what happened to poetry pedagogy in a Grade 10 EAL classroom in rural KwaZulu-Natal when teacher and learners were forced to engage with a poem inappropriate to the context, learner level and teacher content knowledge. This paper applies a sociology of knowledge lens, Legitimation Code Theory, to the task of describing EAL poetry pedagogy in a resource scarce context of high difficulty. The analysis shows how the difficulty level of the poem obstructed epistemic access to the poem’s global meanings, generating pedagogic incoherence. Implications and recommendations for further research are presented.


English Additional Language pedagogy; Legitimation Code Theory; poetry pedagogy, South African high school teaching; knowledge building in high school English

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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