Testing the Waters: Exploring the teaching of genres at a Cape Flats Primary school in South Africa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 7 2013
Eventat International Conference on Urban Multilingualism and Education - University of Ghet, Ghent, Belgium
Duration: Mar 7 2013Mar 8 2013

Conference

Conferenceat International Conference on Urban Multilingualism and Education
Abbreviated titleUME
CountryBelgium
CityGhent
Period3/7/133/8/13

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    Bedeker, M. (2013). Testing the Waters: Exploring the teaching of genres at a Cape Flats Primary school in South Africa. Paper presented at at International Conference on Urban Multilingualism and Education, Ghent, Belgium.