n South African Journal of Higher Education - On the learning behaviours of English additional-language speakers entering Engineering Education in South Africa

Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article reports the findings of an inductive study on the learning behaviours and language difficulties of a small group of English additional-language students entering a school of chemical and metallurgical engineering in South Africa. Students were interviewed in their home language. While they appeared to have had a reasonable grounding in the basics of effective studying and learning, a range of problematic features were also evident. These included rote learning, a dualistic conception of knowledge, and a problematic degree of dependence on teachers, texts and studying past examination papers. The interlinked nature of these features and the way they seem to derive from educational background suggest that the design of interventions should give particular attention to the 'learning practices' of students and be based on developing these practices as a whole rather than the more traditional approach of providing 'skills courses'.

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