Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Teaching and Education
Second or Foreign Language: The Teaching and Learning of English in Adult Education and Training in Rural South African Black Communities
Sikheto Joe Kubayi
It is contended that the distinction between foreign language teaching and learning, and second language teaching and learning lies in the fact that whereas the former has to do with the teaching and learning of a non-native language outside the place or environment where the language is ordinarily spoken, the latter relates to the teaching and learning of the language within the environment where it is spoken, thereby playing a significant role in learners’ national and social lives. Apart from being one of South Africa’s 11 official languages and the medium of instruction in all divisions of education in South Africa, English is also taught as ‘English First Additional Language’ to the majority of Adult Education and Training (AET) black learners who speak indigenous languages in the rural parts of the country. The aim of this study is to examine AET learners’ perceptions of the place, role and impact of English in their national and social lives. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and document analysis in one of the AET centres in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The study found that English is taught and learnt in an environment where it is hardly spoken. It is, therefore, concluded that rather than as a second language, English is being taught and learnt as a foreign language in AET among the learners. Finally, the study recommends for the revision of the AET policy to recognise the role of English in AET classrooms as a foreign language in rural South Africa.
keywords: rural areas, teaching and learning, foreign language, second language, Adult Education and Training