n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Managing transition : teacher accommodation strategies in an English second language classroom

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1727-7140



The South African Language in Education Policy (LiEP) makes provision for learners to be taught in their first language in the first three years of schooling. In accordance with this language policy, in most public schools, learners are taught in their home language in the first three years of school. In grade 4, which is the beginning of the intermediate phase, English - the second language (L2) - becomes the language of learning and teaching (LoLT) across all subjects except the mother tongue. Contrary to expectations, by grade 4, learners in disadvantaged environments have barely developed sufficient reading and writing skills in their home language to make a successful transition and function effectively in the L2. This paper is based on insights from lesson observations and interviews of three Grade 4 teachers of English as a Second Language. It documents the accommodation strategies used to help learners manipulate the language of learning and teaching (LoLT). Findings indicate that the translanguaging processes involved in making English part of the learners' linguistic repertoire are heavily embedded in the home language, resulting in very slow development of the learners' language proficiency in English. Recommendations are made on how to enable teachers to assist their learners to bridge this transition gap.

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