A language programme evaluation : English as language of learning and teaching
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This study evaluates a teacher development course on the use of English as the language of learning and teaching (LoLT). The course was developed and implemented in a sample of Intermediate Phase classrooms in four rural primary schools of the Free State Province. The course was a language intervention programme in an integrated district development project funded by the Flemish Government. The project was implemented from 2002 to 2004. The course was developed and implemented by Sacred Heart College Research and Development Unit in collaboration with the School of Languages of the North-West University. The course aimed at developing teachers' knowledge and skills in using learners' basic interpersonal communication skills in their home languages and in English to develop their English cognitive academic proficiency. It practically demonstrates communicative language teaching, co-operative learning and reflective practice. The evaluation of the English as LoLT Course explored the multiple perspectives of its evaluation audience; the interrelatedness of the course content and the learning milieu; planning, learner participation and assessment in Outcomes-based education (OBE), teaching practice, and the conceptual development and transfer of English in everyday communication and as the LoLT. The findings and recommendations of the study highlight the need to develop teachers' own English language usage and their participation in professional working groups to develop their knowledge and skills as facilitators, reflective practitioners, and curriculum developers. In addition, the study evaluates the Context Adaptive Model (Lynch, 1996; 2003) selected to guide the evaluation of the English as LoLT Course at a meta-evaluation level. The validation of the language programme evaluation model is mainly related to the epistemological claims of utilitarian pragmatism and interpretivism in programme evaluation research. The ability of the model to facilitate valid findings according to these epistemological claims in the evaluation of the English as LoLT Course is evaluated. Core criteria of flexibility, appropriateness, clarity of description and clarity of logic were identified and used to evaluate the language programme evaluation model. The findings and recommendations of the study attempt to offer a response to the need for quality assured language learning programmes in teacher development, especially for programmes in the use of English as a LoLT in the multilingual and multicultural rural context of South Africa.
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