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Testing the Waters: Exploring the Teaching of Genres in a Cape Flats Primary School in South Africa
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. University of the Western Cape, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8239-524X
University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
2015 (English)In: Language and Education, ISSN 0950-0782, E-ISSN 1747-7581, Vol. 29, no 3, 235-255 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Twenty years after democracy, the legacy of apartheid and hitherto unmet challenges of resourcing and teacher development are reflected in a severely inequitable and underperforming education system. This paper focuses on second language writing in the middle years of schooling when 80% of learners face a double challenge: to move from ‘common sense’ discourses to the more abstract, specialised discourses of school subjects and, simultaneously, to a new language of learning, in this case English. It describes an intervention using a Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) genre-based pedagogy involving 72 learners and two teachers in a low socio-economic neighbourhood of Cape Town. Using an SFL analytical framework, we analyse learners’ development in the Information Report genre. All learners in the intervention group made substantial gains in control of staging, lexis, and key linguistic features. We argue that the scaffolding provided by SFL genre-based pedagogies together with their explicit focus on textual and linguistic features offer a means of significantly enhancing epistemic access to the specialised language of school subjects, particularly for additional language learners. Findings have implications for language-in-education policy, teacher education, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment in multilingual classrooms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 29, no 3, 235-255 p.
Keyword [en]
adolescent literacy, English as a Second Language, genre-based pedagogies, middle school, multilingualism, second language writing, Systemic Functional Linguistics, language education, South Africa, epistemic access
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Language Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109068DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2014.994526ISI: 000349460900005OAI: diva2:779524
Multilingualism and identities in and out of school: Urban youth on the Cape Flats
Available from: 2015-01-13 Created: 2014-11-11 Last updated: 2015-03-18Bibliographically approved

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Kerfoot, Caroline
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