Up from under: a study of English training on the mines

Carol A. Puhl


A study was done over six months at the training centre of a large mining house, Gold Fields
of South Africa. Four instructors taught English courses to experimental groups using an
approach integrating suggestopedic language teaching and thinking skills (called henceforth "
the integrated approach"). The same four instructors taught English to control groups using
traditional methods. English language skills and thinking skills were measured before and
after each course. Qualitative data were gathered from learners, instructors and supervisors.
Results clearly showed that black workers with low educational levels can gain an
appreciable amount of English in a three-week intensive course. All of the qualitative data
and one of the two qualitative measures support this statement.
Further, support was found for greater benefits to the learners of the integrated approach over
traditional approaches to language teaching, especially in ability to think and in positive
attitudes including self-confidence.
The process of the study yielded additional findings and raised further questions of interest to
those involved in language teaching and research.
'n Studie is oor ses maande gedoen by die opleidingsentrum van 'n groat mynmaatskappy,
Gold Fields of South Africa. Vier instrukteurs het die gei"ntegreerde benadering gebruik om 'n
Engelse kursus aan eksperimentele groepe aan te bied. Dieselfde instrukteurs het ook die
kontrole-groepe onderrig deur gebruik te maak van die tradisionele metodes van taalonderrig.
Studente se Engelse taalvaardigheid, sowel as denkvaardighede is voor en na elke kursus
gemeet. Kwalitatiewe data is van leerders, instrukteurs en toesighouers verlay.
Resultate het duidelik getoon dat swart werkers met lae opvoedingsvlakke se Engelse
vaardighede aansienlik kan verbeter na 'n intensiewe onderrigkursus van drie weke. AI die
kwalitatiewe data en een van die twee kwalitatiewe metings onderslayf hierdie stelling.
Verder is gevind dat die gerntegreerde benadering grater voordele inhou as die tradisionele
taalonderrigbenaderings, vera! ten opsigte van die vennoe om te dink en van positiewe
houdings, insluitende selfvertroue.
Verdere gevolgtrekkings het uit die studie voortgespruit en kemvrae is ook geopper wat
relevant is vir taalonderrig en -navorsing.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/6-2-351


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