Perceptions of Grade 11 Setswana home language learners regarding English as the language of learning and teaching in a rural South African school

  • Joseph Azagsiba University of South Africa
  • Tintswalo V Manyike


South African learners are amongst millions globally who learn English as a second language and also use it as the language of learning and teaching (LoLT) at various levels of their educational careers. The literature abounds with views from language and education experts confirming that proficiency in the LoLT is a prime factor determining the academic success of learners. Conspicuously absent are the voices of learners on a matter that so intimately touches them. This study, therefore, investigated the perceptions of Setswana Home Language (SHL) learners about studying English as a subject and using it as the LoLT. The study was conducted with Setswana Home Language (SHL) Grade 11 learners in a rural public secondary school in the Bojanala Education District, North-West Province, South Africa. Second language acquisition theory and the concepts of Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) as espoused by Cummins informed the single case qualitative study. Data were collected through a questionnaire with one purposefully sampled Grade 11 English First Additional Language (EFAL) class and analysed qualitatively. In the findings, learners confirmed that they did not have a thorough understanding of English; lacked confidence when speaking English; had poor speaking and writing skills in English; preferred to have Setswana as the LOLT; were exposed to the use of both the home language (HL) and English in the classroom; and lacked sufficient access to English in their home environments.


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