Exploring Grade 12 English Writing Skills: A Case Study of Selected Schools in Mahikeng Sub-District
Lack of writing proficiency is a cause for concern particularly for learners who are progressing from secondary schools to universities. The purpose of the study was to identify major ESL essay writing challenges experienced by Grade 12 learners in Mahikeng Sub District, establish the extent to which these challenges affect/ interfere with the writing proficiency of the learners, determine challenges faced by ESL educators in teaching writing and to provide a model for addressing the transitional writing problems between high school and tertiary education. Four secondary schools were selected for an intensive study. The four schools were selected from four different categories namely, quintiles 1 − 4. Four teachers, were observed while teaching essay writing; after the lessons they were interviewed and their marked learners' essays were re-marked using a feedback model checklist. The results from essays were analysed using content analysis while lesson observations and interviews were subjected to thematic analysis. The findings indicate that teachers were unable to recognise several errors that were later identified in the re-marking of the learners' essays using the feedback model checklist. The findings further indicate that teachers are concerned about the learners' weak metalinguistic and metacognitive skills; suffer from time constraints when conducting lessons and find it difficult to motivate learners to participate effectively in class. Learners in the farming and rural areas (quintiles 1 and 2) have more language challenges than those in the urban high and low density residential areas (quintiles 3 and 4). According to the findings, the process approach to essay writing is not working for the learners from all geographical settings even if teachers claim that it is an effective way of teaching essay writing. Teachers need an approach that will work for their learners considering that the process approach assumes that learners already have a native-proficiency in English. The researcher proposes a multipronged approach which is adapted from the three main approaches; product, genre and process. The multipronged approach is envisaged to address both the metalinguistic and metacognitive challenges faced by the learners. Additionally, to address the metalinguistic aspects of the multipronged approach, a feedback model checklist is proposed by the researcher.
- Humanities