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PST131J/502/3/2013

Tutorial letter 502/3/2013

FIRST ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE TEACHING

PST131J

DEPARTMENT OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIES

Semester 1 and 2

This tutorial letter contains important information about your module.

Bar code

A warm word of welcome to you! We trust that this course in Additional Language Teaching will be

an enjoyable and informative experience! We will try our best to guide you through your course material and use tutorial letters as a means of communication as well as to provide additional information, so you should keep them to refer back to throughout the year. We have divided this

course up into various units.

You will also find that there is an overlap of some material in the additional language module with that of the home language module. This cannot be helped because one cannot study the techniques of teaching additional language without understanding a little about how children acquire their mother tongue and why we teach children their home language at school. Another reason why we had to design the modules in this way is that some students might not enroll for both modules.

We hope that you will gain sufficient insight into how languages are learnt and how to effectively teach one. Certain activities will help you think critically while others will require you to apply your new-found knowledge or experience.

You are required to do a fair amount of reading but your efforts will pay off, as you need to have

a theoretical foundation if you wish to design effective learning opportunities.

Once you have worked through each unit, go back to the outcomes specified at the beginning of the unit and mark off those that you have attained. If there is any that you are unsure of, go back to the relevant sections and revise the work.

Best wishes for the academic year!

Dr Taole

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STUDY UNIT 1: OVERVIEW

1.1 Aim of unit

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Learning outcomes:

After you have studied this unit, you should be able to:

list themes that this course deals with

understand how this tutorial letter can help you as an affective tool for (interactive) learning

1.2

Purpose, nature and scope of this course

The main aim of this course is for you to learn about teaching a language, in this case an additional language, as well as how to apply this knowledge in the profession you have chosen. Do not think that all you have to do is simply reproduce the facts in the exams. You are expected to understand the subject thoroughly and be able to show how to apply this knowledge in your teaching.

This course is not designed as a model of what additional language teaching should be. That would be difficult to do because each teaching situation differs vastly from the others and each teacher has a unique style. This course is designed to equip you with the basic knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that you will need when you have to teach an additional language as a subject.

This course has to do with the teaching of an additional language in the senior primary phase. We shall give a conceptual analysis of relevant concepts and principles and shall also discuss the place of language teaching in the curriculum.

1.3 Learning outcomes

Each unit starts with a list of learning outcomes. These outcomes describe the results or achievements of learning and not the means/methods we use to achieve the results. After having worked through each unit carefully, you should then return to the outcomes and measure yourself against them to find out if you have achieved each one. If you have not achieved one of the outcomes, this means that you need to go over that section of the work again.

1.4 Self-assessment activities

Activities in the course notes and self-evaluation questions at the end of each unit will contribute to an outcomes-based kind of learning and have been included to help you assess your progress. They focus on matters such as factual knowledge, insight and the ability to analyse or synthesise/link facts.

1.5

Assignments

Tutorial Letter 101 contains the dates for the assignments that you need to submit for this course. You must hand in TWO such assignments, each designed to add to your knowledge and development of skills and values/attitudes in this course. They also serve as an evaluation tool for gaining entrance to the exams. Make sure that you understand the work and do not think that a verbatim (word-for-word) reproduction of the sections that contain the answers will earn you good marks.

1.6 Additional source

Kilfoil, WR & Van der Walt, C. 2 0 0 9 . Learn 2 teach. English language teaching in a multilingual context.4th edition. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

We also advise you to invest in a good, monolingual, learner’s dictionary. This is another vital resource, which will be extremely useful both during your studies and when you prepare your lessons later on.

1.7 Themes and course outline

This course consists of seven units. The first unit will give you a general overview of this course while the remaining six focus on various themes related to additional language teaching and learning. These themes are not isolated topics in their own right but are interrelated and form a whole with regard to additional language teaching. Let us take a look at the themes you will be dealing with this year:

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Second language acquisition, first language teaching and planning

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Communicative skills development

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Teaching reading and listening (receptive skills)

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Teaching speaking and writing (productive skills)

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Literary instruction

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Assessment

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Language (Outcomes-based education)

1.8

Reference technique

When you use any source of reference you have to acknowledge it at the end of each sentence or paragraph in which you referred to that source, as well as in the bibliography. If you do not do so, you will be guilty of intellectual theft (plagiarism) which is a serious academic crime.

We use the internationally accepted Harvard method for writing bibliographical information. This is the most commonly accepted academic convention of acknowledging any information used that comes from another source.

You will notice that, in the bibliography, we list all the authors of a particular source. For references in the text (known as in-text referencing) we use the first author's name and et al instead of listing all the names when a source has more than one author. However, in the bibliography we have to acknowledge/write all the authors' names. We also use italics when typing the source's title. If you write the bibliography yourself, obviously you cannot use italics. Here you will underline the source.

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Each assignment must have a bibliography, because you need to acknowledge the author/s whose books you consulted. A bibliography must be as concise (yet complete) as possible. Entries in your bibliography are arranged in alphabetical order. The additional source will be listed as follows:

Kilfoil, WR & Van der Walt, C. 2009. Learn 2 teach: English language teaching in a multilingual context. 4th edition. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

In the next unit, we shall take a look at how humans acquire language. This complex phenomenon has intrigued and baffled researchers for generations. Teaching a language should seem easier when we have investigated the ways in which we, as human beings, learn to express ourselves using this complicated system of communication called language.

STUDY UNIT 2: LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

Learning outcomes:

After completing this unit, you should:

have a better understanding of how an additional language is learnt/can be taught

be able to discuss the various teaching techniques

adequately explain the "label debate"

be able to decide on a teaching approach you support and explain how it would probably influence your teaching style

know the additional language skills a young learner needs to master

2.1 Learning a language

The acquisition of language "is doubtless the greatest intellectual feat any one of us is ever required to perform". The American linguist, Bloomfield, stated that normal human beings do not need to be taught to speak! Many human beings function very well in their society without ever learning to read or write. Very soon they are able to interact with their social environment using an intricate system of oral communication. They ask for things, express their dissatisfaction or fears and eventually as adults they are able to discuss complex and abstract ideas without having acquired the skills of literacy/reading and writing.

The successful exchange of knowledge through language is crucial to every person's well being. As learners, family members, employees and individual citizens, we need to communicate effectively. Teaching language is an attempt to expand children's language ability and their ability to express their thoughts effectively. The home and family are instrumental in the early acquisition of language. The home provides the initial stimulation for the development of language, but the role of the school is crucial in a country like ours where there are many illiterate parents who cannot provide the necessary stimulation at home. Over the generations, many interesting studies and experiments have been done on how human beings learn or acquire a language and the following are some interesting observations:

Words are stored in a jumbled fashion but are strung together coherently in sentences. Children learn to construct and produce unique utterances each time they speak.

Children learn to understand sentences they have never heard before.

Language rules are never taught. Children seem to be equipped with a perfect theory of language.

Children learn the social use of language appropriate to their culture such as taboo words, greetings, and polite forms.

Linguistic knowledge is developed over a period of time.

Human language is creative and not just appropriate responses to particular stimuli.

It is virtually impossible for those who are unable to hear (deaf children), to learn to speak naturally.

Being able to speak one language seems to provide the foundation for learning additional languages.

The way in which additional languages are learnt differs significantly from the way that a first language is acquired.

2.2 Labeling the language

An interesting debate has arisen during the past years as to how to label the language a child is first exposed to. What do you think is an appropriate label? Language? Or does this imply that a second language is inferior? What about native language? Would some people take offence at this label? Is "mother-tongue" a politically correct term? Is it really sexist? Do you think that this debate is linguistic or political?

In this course, we have chosen to use the labels "home language" and "additional language" suggesting the order in which a language is learnt. A "home language" implies the language to which a child was exposed most frequently during the first two years of its life. An additional language is any language that is learnt after the first one has been mastered fully. We are aware that many young children are exposed to more than one language at a time. One parent/caretaker using a particular language and the other parent using another language. However, this course does not cover the interesting phenomenon of bilingualism from an early age.

2.3 Second language acquisition techniques

There is no single correct method and perhaps you already have a preference for one particular method. Do not hastily judge or dismiss a technique because it does not seem to suit your own situation or convictions. Being able to make informed choices is what teaching is all about, so take into account your own personality, teaching style and circumstances when reading through each method. You will then be better able to evaluate which aspects to incorporate into your own teaching.

2.4 According to Kilfoil and Van der Walt (1997: 34), the following is a list of the current trends in additional language classrooms:

There is no one best method of teaching a language. All the approaches should be tried and the best selected from them.

The learners speak more than the teachers.

Teachers use a wide variety of methods in the presentation of their lessons, in exercises, in evaluations and for homework.

Total physical response is widely use - it is used at a more advanced level in higher grades.

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A variety of teaching material is used: sound cassettes, written media, pictures, maps or actual objects.

Authentic cultural objects are incorporated where possible.

Gifted children are encouraged and receive more advanced work.

Interpersonal communication is strongly emphasised.

Interdisciplinary or content-based approaches are followed.

Teachers frequently use pair work, group work and cooperative instruction as well as individualised instruction.

Lessons are characterised by variation because of the children’s limited concentration span.

An informal approach is used.

The emphasis is on understanding and speaking the

language.

Listening activities provide “understandable inputs”.

Words and expressions are used in context and not in isolation.

The initial emphasis is on listening and speaking and then on reading and writing.

Associations are made between the additional language and the object, rather than between the word in the additional language and the equivalent in the home language.

Functional communication situations that occur in real life are created and language structures and functional language usage are practised in these situations.

In each lesson previous work is systematically revised and inculcated in the learners.

The pace of the lesson is lively and is kept that way by means of timeous changes and transitions from one activity to the next.

The learners are encouraged to speak to each other in the additional language.

Evaluation is done on a continuous and integrated basis.

The learners dramatise discussions, songs, poems, stories, historical events, and etcetera.

2.5 How does it influence you as a teacher?

Language teaching focuses primarily on developing learners’ communicative language ability so that they are able to interact meaningfully. Although there are undoubtedly certain parallels between the acquisition (learning) of a home language and an additional language, the teaching, learning and development of the additional language involves certain distinctive processes which necessarily require a unique approach, methodology and assessment.

As I have already mentioned, the home language teacher should attempt to build on the learners’ knowledge of their own language (which they can already speak and write). Learners of additional languages usually have (but not always) little or no knowledge of the language and thus need to be taught the basics of speaking, reading, listening and writing. Remember that the South African situation is unique in many respects. It is not unusual to find children that can communicate fluently in more than one language - largely because of the multilingual environment in which they are raised - but many of them cannot read and write all the language they speak. It is important to remember that the learners and teachers of additional languages are not required to achieve the same outcomes as the home language learners and teachers.

As an additional language teacher, you will sometimes be confronted with a situation where some learners are more proficient in the language than others, so you will need to vary the level of difficulty of the activities you present without moving to the level of a home language.

Take the following into consideration:

The world that is upon us now is a “global community and it is essential to understand the culture of your neighbour. We do not live in isolation anymore. Nor can teaching be done with one perspective only.

I think it embodies moving away from the teacher as disseminator of knowledge and more towards the teacher as facilitator - the teacher’s job is to facilitate the students’ own construction of what the additional language means to them in context, and in time and space. We provide the tools. Teaching with a global perspective is fluid, adaptable and ever changing, not static. In addition, I think it should involve a heavy dose of cultural context and information - not to change the students’ cultural values or morals, but to increase awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity (Kristmanson[SA]).

2.6 How an additional language is acquired

Cahill and Camper (1989: 11) make an important point when they state that the process of language acquisition should also be seen in a philosophical light:

The acquisition of a language has to do with activities of the human consciousness. It must be accepted that human intellectual abilities are not sufficient to unravel and explain the processes and activities of the human consciousness. Seen in this light, we will never find a final answer to how, for example, a person acquires a language. A speculative element will always be a part of any theory formed (own translation).

Van der Walt (1983:

is acquired?”

35) asks quite rightly:

“Will we ever really know how a second language

I often pose these questions to people and usually get a variety of diverse responses about how they learn an additional language. Most people tell me that they started learning their first additional language at primary school and their second additional language at high school. They often remember specific techniques that teachers used to teach grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, such as drilling specific language structures, memorising vocabulary and fixed expressions - they were seldom given the opportunity to apply their knowledge to written work. Other people have told me that they moved to new neighborhoods as young children where nobody spoke the same home language as them. Although they struggled for months to learn the vernacular or colloquial language of the area, they speak the language fluently today without any accent - despite know nothing about the language’s structure and grammar:

speaking the language is automatic and “natural”. Some people’s parents enrolled them in grade 1 in schools where the medium of instruction was strange and although they struggled initially, they are totally bilingual today.

By thinking about how you learned a language and by asking other people about their experiences, you will be able to learn a lot about the process of acquiring an additional language. It is clear that there is a difference between consciously learning a language at school and acquiring a language in a social environment (neighborhood, country or school) where the language is used on a daily basis as a means of communication.

Language acquisition refers to the way in which a child learns his or her home language. If a person learns a language in a social environment because he or she comes into daily contact with the language, it is also language acquisition. Language acquisition is an unconscious process and occurs as a result of informal learning: if a person is acquiring something or has already acquired it, he or she is not always aware that it is happening or has already happened. Consciously learning a language, in contrast, means that a person has informal knowledge of the language and explicit formal linguistic knowledge of the language; the person consciously learns

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new words and learns how to apply the grammar rules, etcetera. The conscious learning of a language usually takes place in formal language teaching situations (Towell & Hawkins 1994: 6, Echavarria & Graves 1998: 42).

It is generally accepted that young children learn (acquire) a new language naturally and with

surprising ease, and that they speak it relatively faultlessly and without any accent; older

learners, in contrast, generally struggle to learn an additional language and usually speak it with an accent (Dunn 1983: 7). Children who acquire an additional language at a young age seldom have formal knowledge of the language rules that govern the additional language, but are still able to speak it fluently. Research studies over the years have tried to determine if there really

is an optimal age to acquire a second language. A number of possible reasons have been

given for the perceived advantage that younger children have over older children. There are also

a large number of empirical investigations that have attempted to explain the phenomenon. Larson-Freeman, as quoted by Harley (1986: xi), sums it up as follows:

At one time or another second language acquisition researchers entertained the thought that one, all, none of or a combination of the following could be used to explain the purported differential success between child and adult learners of a second language: biological factors, affective factors, motivation, time allotment, cerebral dominance (hemisphericity) and learning conditions. (The emphasis is my addition.)

The findings of the empirical investigations are varied. Some investigations have confirmed that preadolescents have a special ability (known as their language acquisition device or LAD) and thus have an advantage over older learners when it comes to learning a language; other investigations indicate that older learners have an advantage because of their advanced cognitive abilities - they are thus better able to apply language rules (Echevarria & Graves 1998: 46). It is also speculated that should adults be exposed to a second language for long enough, they would also acquire the language without having any knowledge of the language rules.

The acquisition of additional languages is a very interesting field and I wish I could deal with it in more detail. Visit your local library for more information about this topic.

2.7 How can I teach an additional language?

In the past, teachers usually taught an additional language by explaining the grammar rules to

the learners and drilling words, sentence structures and isolated language points into them. The learners received lists of words and fixed expressions which they had to learn by heart. The result of this traditional approach was that the learners usually knew the grammar rules very well,

but the minute they had to speak to someone in the language, or when they had to use the language in a shop, post office or other real-life situation, they were unable to do so. They learned how the language tools worked, but were never given the chance to use and apply these

tools in communications situations. Van der Walt (1984: 21) points out that learners who study

a language usually want to know how to greet people in that language, how to introduce

someone to others, to warn, persuade, give advice, and ask and give directions, etcetera:

Yet how often are students taught to do these things? A student may know the grammar and vocabulary of a language and yet still be unable to begin and end a telephone conversation appropriately, or be unable to excuse himself from other people’s company, or he may not know how to make sure his listeners understand that he is uncertain about something. We must therefore include in our teaching the ability to do things with language and to express meanings in the language.

Language must be seen as interpersonal communication, used for a while range of purposes and in a wide variety of situations.

Tying in with this, Askes (1992: 640 mentions that in his experience learners know exactly what a noun or a verb is, they know what part of speech the word “warning” is and also what it means, but that they are unable to actually warn others.

Linguists feel that teachers should adopt a broad approach to language teaching, rather than concentrate on specific methods. The use of a specific method could be too restrictive and narrow.

2.8Communication skills

Young children are encouraged to communicate and develop their language skills from a very early age. Communication entails more than the mere use of language; it includes gestures, eye movements and behaviour. Communication means expressing and sharing feelings and ideas with other people. Communication develops from where the infant tries to tell its mother something by crying, to where an adult conveys meaning by explaining and gesturing. All forms of communication are important; however, the use of language to communicate is the most important. Without language people find it difficult to communicate effectively.

Communication means that

! children can receive a message

! children are able to interpret what they receive correctly

! children can reply with an adequate response

Communication is a very important aspect of the multilingual classroom of South Africa. Social development also has a part to play in communication between two children who do not have the same mother tongue, but are in the same class. Their ability (or inability) to communicate will hamper their social development. You should be aware of potential problems and act accordingly. All children are born with the urge and the will to communicate. You should read the signs and encourage communication.

As with the home language classroom, you could improve communication skills in the following ways:

! Provide materials and situations conducive to communication. Ask questions that will prompt the child to answer. For example: "It is a flower." "What colour is the flower?" "What kind of flower is it?" You could make use of puppets, balls or anything else that will encourage communication. Material can be used in dramatic play to help children to communicate.

! Help your learners to develop listening and speaking skills by telling stories, singing songs and playing various games.

! Tape stories (or buy taped stories) for the learners to listen to. Ask questions based on these stories. For example, allow your learners to say how they felt when something has happened. Ask the class to say what they think will happen next (anticipation).

! Speak to your learners and encourage them to communicate their feelings and thoughts.

You will have many opportunities to either create situations for talking to the children, or to make use of situations that present themselves. When observing your learners' communication skills, you should look for certain factors that will indicate whether your learners are developing and improving in their second language. These factors are the following:

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! Confidence: Your learners are confident when speaking. They may not be fluent or speak without mistakes, but they get their message across.

! Articulation: Your learners' speech is clear enough to be reasonably well understood.

! Language production: Your learners speak in sentences and can link words well enough to be understood.

! Vocabulary: Your learners need to be taught as many useful words related to their frame of reference as possible. Extension of vocabulary is a definite focus in second language learning.

! Communication: Your learners need to be taught the various structures and functions of a second language in order to communicate effectively.

! Understanding language: Your learners may understand what they hear and see. They may respond to instructions, questions and requests. When comprehension is lacking or reaction is not appropriate, you will have to rephrase instructions, demonstrate again or possibly even revert to the first language to ensure understanding.

! Playing with words: Your learners enjoy songs, word games and rhymes.

! Listening skills: Your learners listen and react correctly to questions and instructions. They are able to identify words and sounds.

Social development is broadened by acquiring an additional language. Learners who have difficult expressing themselves well are often less able to develop friendships. Being able to use another language effectively also assists in emotional development. Your learners' self- esteem is enhanced by their growing ability to communicate their feelings accurately to others in another language.

The development of language is one of a child's major accomplishments during early childhood. In a few years children move from being non-verbal and unable to communicate their needs through speech, to developing the ability to speak and understand language. Children learn thousands of words, their meanings and the rules for using them simply by being around caring adults who talk to them and respond to their efforts to communicate. They are born with the urge to communicate. If we respond to their signals and show encouragement, their interest in expanding their communication skills is almost limitless.

2.9 Elements of language

Although a baby first hears, then speaks and later on learns to read and write, these receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) language skills need to be integrated in second language teaching/learning. We also need to remember that underlying all of these is the ability to think. The ability to think is an important aspect of language. With the development of information technology, the use of electronic media should also be considered and included in the teaching of language.

Thinking Experience teaches us that learners will improve their ability to think if they have a school programme that is rich in challenging and authentic language experiences. A good teacher will focus on the intimate connection between thinking and language.

Listening Listening and speaking are closely related in conversation. We learn to listen for different purposes and to integrate new with existing information. Note-taking and the electronic media can be used effectively to record the important facts in any speech we have listened to.

Speaking Speaking implies saying what has been thought. Talking and thinking are so closely connected that the one implies the other and we often do not really know what we think about a topic until we talk about it. Speaking also depends on vocabulary, using one's voice and the ability to produce a variety of types of sentences. Knowledge and alternative ways of organising what we want to say are important in the speaking experience.

ACTIVITY

Discuss with some learners situations in which they would have to use another language other than their own home language. How would these situations differ from those in which they use their home language?

Writing

Writing and speaking are both ways of expressing thoughts. In which circumstances would learners use their additional language to write? Learners thus need to learn to use appropriate word and language forms for chosen purposes. Writing with care involves a rather complex process in which we revise our written products several times until it communicates in the way we want it to. In rewriting we thoroughly examine our choice of words, spelling and punctuation even in an additional language.

ACTIVITY Have the learner write short letters and notes to one another. Initially the notes need only consist of one or two sentences. You can give instructions regarding the content of the notes, for example: “Ask your friend to do something” or “Give her certain instructions.

Reading Why is reading a very important activity of daily life? Do learners only read in home language? Think about how much reading we do in a single day from reading advertisements to newspapers, books, magazines and non-fiction. We also seek enjoyment, as when we read stories, poems, articles and jokes. Learning to read begins when we are taught the alphabet and how single letters can be put together to make words. These words are put together in the right order make sentences. This process continues in our adult life as we learn how to deal with different kinds of text, their content and thousands of words in print. Reading is usually taken a step further when we think effectively about what we have read and can incorporate it in our communication with others, thus talking and giving account of what we have read. How does this all apply to an additional language learner?

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ACTIVITY

Collect some examples of the written word in various languages, for example adverts, notices or a page from a magazine. Compare these texts and note how the information is conveyed to the reader.

2.10 Approaches to language teaching

To date, approaches to teaching an additional language vary from keeping the subject almost entirely separate, to including it in almost all of the content areas of the curriculum if it has been chosen as a medium of instruction, for example, English. Let us take a look at some of the possibilities.

2.10.1 Separate subjects

In this approach periods are scheduled during the week for the different areas of the curriculum. Most subjects are taught from a textbook and without much connection with others. The "separate subject" organisation is based on the assumption that learners will study the text materials in a sequential fashion and then be able to use the skills and content they have learnt when these are needed. It is expected that what was learnt in the language class can be used more or less automatically as needed in any other subject.

2.10.2 Integrated language teaching

This approach treats language as a field where handwriting, spelling, composition, grammar, punctuation, speaking and reading are all included. Such teaching emphasises the relationship between these components, encouraging learners to see, for instance, that good handwriting and knowledge of spelling are both involved in producing words that can be read easily. In an integrated arts approach, attention is given both to the systematic teaching of the necessary skills and to the actual use of what has been learnt already.

This approach is common where the additional language has been chosen as a medium of instruction.

3 Revised National Curriculum Statement Grades R-9 (schools) INTRODUCING THE LANGUAGES

Definition

The Languages Learning Area includes:

• All eleven official languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga; and

• languages approved by the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) and the South African Certification Authority (SAFCERT) such as Braille and South African Sign Language.

The Learning Area for each official language is presented in three parts, each with its own volume: Home Language, First Additional Language, and Second Additional Language.

In a multilingual country like South Africa, it is important that learners reach high levels of proficiency in at least two languages, and that they are able to communicate in other languages.

The Additive Approach to Multilingualism

The Language Learning Area is in line with the Department of Education’s language-in-education policy. This policy gives School Governing Bodies the responsibility of selecting school language policies that are appropriate for their circumstances and in line with the policy of additive multilingualism. The Languages Learning Area Statement provides a curriculum that is supportive of whatever decision a school makes. It follows an additive approach to multilingualism:

• All learners learn their home language and at least one additional official language.

• Learners become competent in their additional language, while their home language is maintained and developed.

• All learners learn an African language for a minimum of three years by the end of the General Education and Training Band. In some circumstances, it may be learned as a second additional language.

The home, first additional and second additional languages are approached in different ways:

• The home language Assessment Standards assumes that learners come to school able to understand and speak the language. They support the development of this competence, especially with regard to various types of literacy (reading, writing, visual and critical literacies). They provide a strong curriculum to support the language of learning and teaching.

• The first additional language assumes that learners do not necessarily have any knowledge of the language when they arrive at school. The curriculum starts by developing learners’ ability to understand and speak the language. On this foundation, it builds literacy. Learners are able to transfer the literacies they have acquired in their home language to their first additional language. The curriculum provides strong support for those learners who will use their first language as a language of learning and teaching. By the end of Grade 9, these learners should be able to use their home language and first additional language effectively and with confidence for a variety of purposes including learning.

• The second additional language is intended for learners who wish to learn three languages. The third language may be an official language or a foreign language. The Assessment Standards ensure that learners are able to use the language for general communicative purposes. It assumes that less time will be allocated to learning the second additional language than to the home language or first additional language.

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The Language Learning Area covers all 11 official languages as:

‚ Home languages;

‚ First additional languages; and

‚ Second additional languages.

Language of Learning and Teaching

It is recommended that the learner’s home language should be used for learning and teaching wherever possible. This is particularly important in the Foundation Phase where children learn to read and write.

Where learners have to make a transition from their home language to an additional language as the language of learning and teaching, this should be carefully planned:

• The additional language should be introduced as a subject in Grade 1.

• The home language should continue to be used alongside the additional language for as long as possible.

When learners enter a school where the language of learning and teaching is an additional language for the learner, teachers and other educators should make provision for special assistance and supplementary learning of the additional language, until such time as the learners is able to learn effectively in the language of learning and teaching.

Purpose

Languages are central to our lives. We communicate and understand our world through language. Language thus shapes our identity and knowledge.

Languages serve a variety of purposes, which are reflected in the Language Learning Area Statement. These are:

Personal - to sustain, develop and transform identities; to sustain relationships in family and community; and for personal growth and pleasure.

Communicative - to communicate appropriately and effectively in a variety of social contexts.

Educational - to develop tools of thinking and reasoning, and to provide access to information.

Aesthetic - to create, interpret and play imaginatively with oral, visual and written texts.

Cultural - to understand and appreciate languages and cultures, and the heritage they carry.

Political - to assert oneself and challenge others; to persuade others of a particular point of view; to position oneself and others; and to sustain, develop and transform identities.

Critical - to understand the relationships between language, power and identity, and to challenge uses of these where necessary; to understand the dynamic nature of culture; and to resist persuasion and positioning where necessary.

Unique Features and Scope

How does the Languages Learning Area contribute to the curriculum?

• It develops reading and writing, the foundation for other important literacies.

• It is the medium for much of the other learning in the curriculum, such as Mathematics and the Social Sciences.

• It encourages intercultural understanding, access to other views, and a critical understanding of the concept of culture.

• It stimulates imaginative and creative activity, and thus promotes the goals of arts and culture.

• It provides a way of communicating information, and promotes many of the goals of science, technology and environmental education.

• It develops the critical tools necessary to become responsible citizens.

Language: combining knowledge, skills and values

There are six main Learning Outcomes:

• The first four outcomes cover five different language skills - listening, speaking, reading, viewing and writing.

• Outcome 5 deals with the use of languages for thinking and reasoning, which is especially important for the language of learning and teaching. This outcome is not included in the curriculum for second additional languages, since its aim is not to prepare learners to use this language as a language of learning and teaching. The Mathematics curriculum also covers the skills in this outcome to some extent.

• Outcome 6 deals with the core of language knowledge - sounds, words and grammar - in texts. This knowledge is put into action through the language skills described in the other outcomes.

These outcomes have been written to give specific focus to particular kinds of knowledge and skills, and to make them clear and understandable. When we use language, however, we integrate knowledge, skills and values to express ourselves. A central principle of the Language Learning Area Statement is therefore the integration of these aspects of language through the creation and interpretation of texts.

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Language Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome 1: Listening

PST131J/502

The learner will be able to listen for information and enjoyment, and respond appropriately and critically in a wide range of situations.

Learning Outcome 2: Speaking

The learner will be able to communicate confidently and effectively in spoken language in a wide range of situations.

Learning Outcome 3: Reading and Viewing

The learner will be able to read and view for information and enjoyment, and respond critically to the aesthetic, cultural and emotional values in texts.

Learning Outcome 4: Writing

The learner will be able to write different kinds of factual and imaginative texts for a wide range of purposes.

Learning Outcome 5: Thinking and Reasoning

The learner will be able to use language to think and reason, as well as to access, process and use information for learning.

Learning Outcome 6: Language Structure and Use

The learner will know and be able to use the sounds, words and grammar of the language to create and interpret text.

Integration of outcomes

Listening and speaking, reading and viewing, writing, thinking and reasoning, and knowledge of sounds, words and grammar - although presented as separate outcomes - should be integrated when taught and assessed. For example, learners:

• listen to a particular kind of text (for example, a description of a process such as gold mining or paper making);

• read and analyse key features of another text of the same type (for example, use of simple present tense, passive voice, linking words such as ‘first’, ‘next’, ‘then’); and design and create a new text of the same type, including visual material in the form of a flow diagram.

STUDY UNIT 3: THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit, you should be able to:

argue in favor of why an additional language needs to be learnt

name which aspects of an additional language would need more attention

define communicative competence and specify its key areas

recognise the main characteristics of the communicative approach

3.1 Why an additional language needs to be taught

We now take a closer look at studying a second language.

Well, what do you think? Write down some of the reasons why you think an additional language should or should not be taught at school:

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Currently the main difference between learning an additional language at school and a home language, particularly in the senior classes, is the greater emphasis placed on studying the formal aspects of grammar and a sharper focus on literary studies in the home language

syllabus.

Studying a language for its grammatical aspects only would be very limiting and on the other hand, in order to fully appreciate the richness of its text or discourse one would have to learn the skills that would equip one to analyse and discuss the intricacies of language in its variety of forms and nuances. Thus learning a language needs to be more than learning grammar only. The communicative approach (CA) acknowledges that a language is a system of rules for usage (grammar) and that it is exemplified in use in the various modes of listening, reading, writing and speaking. Learning structures and new vocabulary is important; however, preparation for effective communication will be inadequate if only this is taught.

There is little point in teaching learners the rules of language usage if they cannot use the language appropriately.

When we communicate, we use language to accomplish some function, such as arguing, persuading, or promising. Moreover, we carry out these functions within a social context. A speaker will choose a particular way to express his or her argument based not only upon his or her intention and his level of emotion, but also upon whom he or she is addressing and what his or her relationship with that person is. For example, you may be more direct when arguing with a friend than when you disagree with your employer.

18

PST131J/502

Furthermore, since communication is a process, it is not enough for learners to simply have knowledge of target language forms, meanings and functions only. Learners must be able to apply this knowledge in negotiating meaning. Because language is a process, there are several implications.

A process is a state of change and development. We cannot expect perfect, complete products

from pupils who are still in the process of learning a language.

Children acquire the language they need to know in order to be communicatively competent in their home language speech community. In other words, children remember word patterns they need in everyday life. The best way for them to do this is in a language-rich environment where they have opportunities to hear and speak their first language in a supportive environment. While some language that they hear and read is adapted to suit their level, most of it is real adult language. The child's use of language at a given stage and the communication of meaning take precedence over grammatical accuracy. However, by school-going age children already know whether their communication in their first language is formally possible (which indicates grammatical competence), appropriate in context and feasible. Children aged six or seven, already know how their language relates to reality.

Children use language to get things, to control the behaviour of others, to create interaction with others, to express personal meanings and feelings, to learn and discover, to create a world of the imagination and to communicate information. They use language for effective communication and have strategies to compensate for any lack of linguistic knowledge. It is through the interaction between speaker and listener (or between writer and reader) that meaning becomes clear. The listener gives the speaker feedback on whether or not he or she understands what the speaker has said. In this way the speaker can revise what he or she has said and try to communicate the original intended meaning again, if necessary. Therefore the communicative approach supports the idea that language teaching should not merely involve providing a set of language results. It supports the view that language teaching takes into account effective use of language by the learner.

3.2 Defining the communicative approach (CA)

This approach to language teaching aims to improve a learner's competence and proficiency in that particular language. According to the Oxford advanced learner's dictionary (1995), the word competent means "having the necessary ability, authority, and skill knowledge" while proficiency means "being able to do something in a skilled or expert way because of training or practice". These terms are at times used interchangeably. This approach to language teaching is

a combination of several methods. The communicative approach refers to a specific approach which is followed when teaching a language. Please note that no specific method can be prescribed. Various methods and techniques have to be integrated to achieve success. The communicative approach is derived from the concept of communication because communication (discussion) is at the core of this approach.

The teacher's role is to facilitate communication between the learners or between the learners and the learning content, rather than doing all the talking. Group work is essential to the communicative approach as the teacher needs to simulate everyday communication situations in the classroom and give the learners the opportunity to communicate with each other (listen to each other, speak to each other, etc.). The teacher could, for example, bring a few old telephones to class and let the learners speak to each other over the telephone. The situations they discuss should reflect their reality. This implies that the learners could congratulate each

other, invite friends to a party, or a learner who may have been ill for a week could find out from a friend what homework to do A combination of the listen- speak approach and the communicative approach is often used in practice. According to the listen- speak approach the child first listens to what the teacher says and then repeats it.

However, it is important that the learners understand what they are saying. For example, once the learners have heard how one congratulates someone, they repeat the phrase until they know it.

Then a communication situation is created in which the learners congratulate one another.

In short, if you have communicative competence it implies that you are able to use the target language appropriately in any given social context in order to communicate effectively.

3.3 Principles of the communicative approach

The goal of this approach is to develop learners’ competence and proficiency in their second language. This involves the ability to use language appropriately in any given social context. Learners need knowledge of linguistic forms, meanings and functions but they also need to know that many different forms can be used to perform a function and that a single form can perform a variety of functions.

Write down some of the many ways (forms) in which you can greet (function) someone in your additional language:

Now think of the many different meanings (functions) that the following words (form) could have, if you said in a variety of ways: "I have news for you."

Certain principles underlie the development of communicative competence:

(1) Language is a system for expressing meaning. And its chief purpose is interaction. The primary units of language are not its grammatical or structural features but categories of functional and communicative meaning as found in written and spoken discourse.

PST131J/502

(2)

All four basic communicative skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) need to be integrated and developed simultaneously.

(3)

Communicative competence implies grammatical, sociolinguistic, strategic and discourse competence. (See Kilfoil & Van der Walt, pp103-106.)

(4)

Language could be used for basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) or cognitive academic language proficiency (CALPS) could be developed.

(5)

The degree of accuracy and fluency would vary according to the focus of the activity. Error tolerance is greater in this approach.

(6)

Learners need to be exposed to authentic language and situations. They must also take responsibility for their own progress. In order to expose them to as many opportunities for using the language as possible, much pair work or group work should be designed.

3.4

The role and responsibilities of the teacher in the communicative approach

As a teacher you will need to have a thorough knowledge of how the additional language that you teach works and changes so that you can help your learners to develop their communicative competence fully. If you are teaching groups of mixed culture and race, you will also have to bear in mind that many of the learners in your class may not be home language speakers of the language used for instruction (most likely English). This further complicates your task, because you cannot take for granted that all learners are operating from the same frame of reference or level of ability. This means that you will have to grade or use different activities and levels of explanation to meet individual needs.

The traditional role of the teacher as unique source of all knowledge has changed. You will now act as an organiser of knowledge, initiator of activities, guiding and advising rather than prescribing or drilling a specific aspect of language. You will facilitate the communication process between learners and monitor their interaction with a variety of language texts or discourse. You will have to establish situations that are likely to promote communication in both formal and informal settings. Sometimes you will be a co-communicator, such as when you encourage learners to share their ideas and opinions.

You should also note that, ultimately, the more proficient you are in using the second language as a teacher, the better the learners’ level of competence will be. Communicative competence is a long-term goal and each activity should equip the learner to face the real world with more confidence. They should also understand why it is important to communicate well in any language and should be motivated to improve their proficiency.

You should also strive to create an environment that is conducive to learning and experimentation with language. Where possible, have an attractive, comfortable venue that is well ventilated and well lit.

Regardless of whether or not you are fortunate enough to have a class to yourself, you need to ensure that a low anxiety level exists by establishing a good relationship with your learners.

Probably the greatest contribution of the CA is that it forces you to look closely at what is involved in communicating effectively.

3.5

The communicative approach on presentation methods in the classroom

The

additional language:

communicative approach

has

the

following

implications

for

the

presentation

of

an

• The teachers must create communication situations in the class so that learners get the opportunity to really communicate and to exchange information. Group work is essential and learner-learner interaction must be emphasised rather than teacher-learner interaction.

• Although drilling should not be totally ignored, it is no longer an essential activity during teaching. Pronunciation is important, but only to the point that people are able to understand each other properly.

• Learners may use their home language to facilitate activities, to find the meaning of a single word or to understand a phenomenon.

• Although translation is no longer forbidden, they should only be used when they have real value. (The implication is that different techniques may be used as long as they facilitate communication and prepare the learners to use the language in their adult and professional life.)

• Learners, themselves, must be given as many opportunities as possible to speak, write and read the language. Teachers thus need to speak less. Those situations where the teacher speaks and then expects the learners to repeat him or her should not be seen as opportunities for the learners to speak.

• It is totally natural make mistakes when mastering a language (just think of all the mistakes a young child makes when he or she is learning his or her home language). Try not to rectify each mistake a learner makes as this will undermine his or her self- confidence. Teachers should also try to create a “low level of fear” in their classrooms so that learners are liberated from their “speaking anxiety”.

• Try to create as many opportunities as possible for learners to communicate with each other.

Try to create real, true-to-life situations through role play, for example.

• Learners are motivated when they feel that what they are learning has utility value and that it will be useful in their social and/or professional lives.

• Learners are taught grammar and vocabulary that is relevant to their everyday lives.

• Resources are used extensively and learners participate in role play, group work and language games.

• You could make use of the following resources in your lessons: magazines, pictures, newspapers, weather reports, television programmes, hand puppets, music instruments, overhead projectors, etc.

• Listening activities are very important. Learners should, for example, be able to repeat a story (event) after they have listened to a reading or a tape recording of it.

Dialogues, replacement tables, in-other-words exercises and the close technique may be used, but with discretion. A dialogue may be learned, adapted and developed in an unstructured speaking lesson. Remember, though, learning a dialogue and the associated language structure is not communication.

PST131J/502

3.6 Implications of the communicative approach for the teacher

The teacher is, most definitely, not the focus of the language teaching situation - the learner should be central. Teachers need to concentrate on the learner’s needs; t h e y also need to find the most appropriate way of helping them to communicate in the target language. The teacher must facilitate, that is, to make things easier for the learners. By planning suitable activities and situations, the teacher facilitates the learner’s exposure to and communication in the additional language. The teacher thus brings together the learners and the language in the communicative situation.

The communicative approach is very challenging and makes enormous demands on the teacher. The teacher is entitle to reject the communicative method and to choose a method of his or her choice, provided of course that the learners will benefit from his or her method of teaching. The teacher must always ask the following question: “If I were in the class, would I have enjoyed this form of additional language teaching?”

3.7 Implications for language material

The most important requirement for the language material that is used during the communicative approach to language teaching is that it must bring about authentic, real and credible language utterances. The learners’ tasks must resemble, as far as possible, the real communication situations that learners are confronted with and will be confronted with outside the classroom. It is also essential that the language material used falls within the learners’ fields of interest.

Askes (1992: 74) believes that the following should be used to teach the meaning of words:

real objects: clothes, soup, keys

pictures and illustrations on the chalkboard: tree, mountain, tractor

imitation: sneeze, run, stumble

actions, facial expressions

demonstrations

explanations (this method must be given last priority)

3.8

A last word about the communicative approach

It is obvious that learners, who learn a second additional language according to the communicative approach, must be assessed accordingly. It would be senseless to measure a learner’s progress by testing his or her grammar if he or she has been taught according to the communicative approach.

The big question is now how to ensure that the communicative approach during the teaching of creative work, reading, literature, etc takes its rightful place. According to the communicative approach, all language teaching must be linked to the type of activities or tasks that learners will have to face in the additional language one day. During reading instruction, for example, teachers should pay careful attention to the communicative reading needs of the learners. Look at the following examples:

In which social and work situations will they later need to be able to read the language, that is, what functions will they needs to be able to carry out? Learners will, for example, need to be able to use the language to communicate with colleagues, clients or employers. They will thus need to be able to read and react to basic information related to their work.

They will need to be able to read and understand general sources of information (e.g. posters, advertisements, newspaper headlines).

It is also possible that learners will want to read for relaxation (e.g. an interesting book or article).

3.9

Relating the communicative approach to basic literacy

We shall be dealing with the four basic communicative skills in greater detail focusing on them as receptive and productive skills. We shall also be looking closely at how a learner encodes and decodes information in order to understand it. As an introduction to these matters, we now take

a look at how the integration of these skills forms the basis of literacy, the sought-after ability to read and write. There are many communities that function very successfully using only two of the literacy skills; listening and speaking. So is it really necessary to learn how to read and write in another language as well? If so, why?

Write down some reasons why you think it is important to teach a child more than the spoken

word:

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Let us take a closer look at the traditional definition of literacy: Usually, to be literate means being able to read and write the language that you can speak. In its broader sense it means, having

a basic knowledge of or ability in a specified discipline, for example, being computer literate means you are able to use a computer as a basic tool for your occupation. We can thus say that being literate in your first language means being able to communicate effectively in order to function at an appropriate and expected level in a particular society. Is this vital for a learner’s second

language?

Talk to some children and their families about how being able to listen, speak, read and write in another language can make their lives meaningful. Write down their responses here:

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24

PST131J/502

Write down some ways in which you use listening, speaking, reading and writing your second language in an integrated way:

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Traditionally language instruction was divided into four areas:

• listening

• speaking

• reading

• writing

Such a division permits an in-depth analysis of each area and helps assure that each area will receive a fair and balanced amount of consideration. However, when we work with children listening, speaking, reading and writing are inextricably related.

Language processes are

• visual symbols - those that a child sees, writes and reads, and

• Verbal symbols - those that a child speaks and hears

Each child manipulates these visual and verbal symbols in different ways. This is a cognitive process in which the child will have to listen, speak, write and read effectively.

The following principles should apply in an integrated approach to instruction:

language

• Focus on the language in which the child is learning

• Emphasise the social uses of language

• Arrange activities that are appropriate to the child's development

• Help children think

• Respect cultural and language difference

• Integrate speaking, listening, reading and writing

Bromley (1988:7) views the four language skills as follows:

Traditionally, the acquisition of listening, speaking, reading and writing competence was thought to occur in that order, which, perhaps explains the practice of teaching discrete skills sequentially. But recent research suggests that the four language arts develop concurrently and reinforce each other as they grow. For instance, research in writing indicates that a child does not need to have a large reading vocabulary before a writing vocabulary begins to develop. In fact, some children learn to write words first and then learn to read what they write (Chomsky 1971). Oral language research shows that facility with the spoken word does not always precede and is not always necessary to learn to read (Myers 1987). Children with no oral language, for example, the deaf, do learn to read. We also know, however, that facility with spoken language does contribute to the development of reading and writing competencies.

Although the four language skills will be integrated during language instruction, for academic reasons we are going to separate each skill to indicate which competencies children should be able to demonstrate in Grades 4 to 7.

children should be able to demonstrate in Grades 4 to 7. If you have studied Figure
children should be able to demonstrate in Grades 4 to 7. If you have studied Figure
children should be able to demonstrate in Grades 4 to 7. If you have studied Figure

If you have studied Figure 1.1 thoroughly, you will note that there is a vertical as well as a horizontal division. In the two upper quadrants we have the receptive skills relating to the receiving of messages, in other words the understanding (decoding) of communication. In the two lower quadrants, in other words below the horizontal line, we find the skills necessary to convey (encode) the message.

To the left of the vertical line are the oral skills which consist of two aspects, namely listening and speaking. Listening is both receptive (receiving) and part of oral communication. To the right of the vertical line are the written skills, namely reading and writing. Reading is therefore receptive in written communication, while writing is productive.

In an education context, this means that each of these skills should receive attention in the language classroom.

In real-life communication situations two or more of these skills are usually involved. The implications of this for teaching are as follows:

Although it is therefore true that one could concentrate on one of the four skills in a classroom situation, one should also try to create classroom activities that reflect real-life communication situations. This will mean that two or even more of the so-called four skills are utilised, sometimes simultaneously.

Here are some suggested competencies:

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Listening

Learners should be able to

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- experience situations that will help them interpret non-verbal messages

- actively participate in experiences that will improve their listening skills

- listen, look at the speaker, wait their turn to speak, react to instructions or requests answer questions

- increase their vocabulary

and

- improve their auditory memory by trying to repeat what they have heard

- retell stories or give messages

- react to questions by answering what is asked.

Speaking

Learners' speech will improve as they practise. Learners should

- experiment with language sounds, rhythm, volume, pitch and words

- describe events or sequences of events

- ask clear questions and react to the answers they receive

- describe what they see on posters or pictures and tell stories about them

- give messages to other persons

- participate in conversation with other children and adults

- take part in group discussions with other learners

- take part in creative dramatic activities such as role-play and concerts

Reading

Learners should be able to

- use the school and public library to obtain reading matter

- move from "pretend" reading to actual reading by acquiring reading skills

- react to written signs around them (stop, train, labels, and chemist)

- predict what is going to happen next in a story

-

read and discuss a story (sequence, characters, setting)

-

develop a comprehensive sight vocabulary by reading well-known text

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form positive reading habits to enjoy the written word

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identify beginning letters

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identify rhyming words

-

realise their ability to read well

Writing

Learners will become more proficient in writing skills as they progress. They should be able to

- enjoy writing down their ideas on paper

- write different types of written exercises such as lists, stories and descriptions

- write down their thoughts in their own inventive writing forms (scribble, own spelling, drawings and so on)

- find more topics to write about and expand their writing accordingly

- learn to organise their thoughts and material for others to understand

- learn to use the correct format of writing for different purposes (letter, story and notice) So how do children develop their literacy skills in an additional language?

Did you learn to ride a bicycle just to show your friends you could do it? NO! Surely you wanted to use the bicycle as a means of transport. So it is reasonable to assume that generally we do not use the skills of speaking, reading or writing just for the sake of demonstrating our ability alone. We use these different aspects of language because we have something to achieve through them.

However, at school learners are often expected to do very repetitive exercises, which have little or no real meaning for them. This ought not to be the case. Research into oral language acquisition in particular, has thrown interesting light on how very young learners become good readers and writers.

If you have come across any terms that you are unsure of or that you wish to explore in greater detail, use the index and glossary at the back of your prescribed work for further detail.

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SELF-EVALUATION

(1)

Explain in your own words how an additional language is acquired.

(2)

How does the acquisition of an additional language influence you as a teacher?

(3)

Briefly explain what is meant by communication.

(4)

Give your own definition of the communicative approach.

(5)

Na