The influence of the language proficiency of English teachers who are not native speakers of English on the language skills of their learners
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of the language proficiency of English teachers who are not native speakers of English on the language skills of their learners. The words: English teachers in this study refer to teachers teaching English as subject learning area but who are not native speakers of English. The word learners refer to English second language learners. Although the literature review highlights the specific features of each of the language skills namely listening, speaking, reading and writing they should be done holistically as they all go hand in glove. The literature emphasises that the language of instruction and achievement are directly linked and that low levels of competence in English affect the performance of learners in South Africa. Many learners do not hear adequate and authentic English form first language speakers of the language in an appropriate register. Many teachers lack the necessary English language skills to teach English effectively. English proficiency and cognitive language skills are essential for the achievement of learners who are required to complete assessment tasks in English, and who use English to perform assessment tasks in other learning areas. The Constitution of South Africa promotes multi-lingual; however English is the chosen language of communication and learning by the public and private sector. Learners are more successful in acquiring second language literacy if they have already mastered strategies for negotiating meaning in print, in their mother tongue. Education Minister Naledi Pandor says that not enough teachers have been prepared adequately to teach in English and this impact negatively on the English proficiency of their learners. The result of the empirical research reveals the following: The teaching of language skills are neglected at many schools. Learners' English proficiency is poor because they copy their teachers, who are poor role models of the English language. English second language learners' exposure to and familiarity with English varies from very little to that of limited. English second language learners experience major problems regarding reading processing, and they have a restricted reading vocabulary and a limited understanding of the grammar of the English language. The average grade profile of English teachers of the Afrikaans ex-model C schools, regarding English literacy is Grade 12+, while the average grade profile of the teachers of the township schools, regarding English literacy is Grade 9. The average Grade 12 English second language learners have an English literacy skill profile equal to that of grade 9. The total result of the Elsa clearly shows the influence of teachers' English proficiency on their learners' language skills. The major recommendations resulting from this study include: teachers need to understand cognitive academic language proficiency; learners must be taught the language skills, namely listening, speaking, reading and writing; teachers must be trained to teach English in a multi-lingual multi-cultural class situation and English teachers should upgrade their English language roficiency.
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus