Question 2: Academic essayHow language works as a barrier to learning in South African schoolsTeachers experience things in different ways, as they meet different learners withdifferentbehavior in classrooms. That is why they said a teacher should be aclassroom manager. So teaching is not all about teaching a subject but it also aboutlearning and recognizes what happen in classrooms. Teachers recognizes some ofthe issues that appeared in classrooms as we know that in South African schoolsthere are learners with learning difficulties. I will going to clarify one of the difficultieswhich is the language barrier, let us find out more in the essay below.Teachers are all aware that in order to know how best to teach, motivate or disciplinea child, they must first get to know what makes them pulse. Theteacher listen to whatchildren say, observe them in the classroom and talk to them about their behavior.The more a teacher does this then the more closely they can match the curriculumand the classroom to the needs of that child. Most of the language barriers causedby hearing impairments, a child who lose hearing may end up not talking that willforce him/her to use sign language. So a teacher may suspect hearing loss byobserving behavioral signs such language delays, poor response to verbalinstruction, request to repeat what was said and failure to imitate dialogues.A teacher can overcome this language barrier and any other challenges by thinkingthe pronunciation instruction for learners to pronounce like native speakers. Learnershave to learn English as a medium of instruction and to help them to be essential inEnglish language so that they can be easily understood by others. But a child haveto learn to read and write in his/her own language meaning his/her mother tonguelanguage. That will make it easier for the teacher to recognize barrier language fromthem.According to (L. Fox 1995) people migrating to cities from rural areas of South Africaare facing difficulties with employment and social service access due to languagebarriers. Language barriers also influence migrationsince the late 1800s, auxiliarylanguages have been available to help overcome the language barrier. Theselanguages were traditionally written or constructed by a person or group. Originally,the idea was that two people who wanted to communicate could learn an auxiliary
language with little difficulty and could use this language to speak or write to eachother.In clarification teachers may use different teaching methods to overcome barriers inclasses. Firstly they have to make sure everybody in class understand when they arelearning. The teacher can use pre-teaching strategy to introduce new vocabulary andconcepts. Help learners to read and interpret instructions correctly and check forunderstanding by asking them to explain what they have to do. The teacher also canuse the memory way by reminding learners of teaching points and use pictures, artfacts where possible. Other learners have difficulty with expressive language, whilethey are able to understand spoken and written language, they encounter problemsremembering and using vocabulary correctly or expressing themselves confidently.They may speak in shorter sentences, signaling often and rarely using adjectivesand verbs. Teachers should provide a sign for the class indicating that learners’sufficient time must listen. Allow learners sufficient time to consider and answerquestions, use pictures and existing object to support learning of meaningfulvocabulary.Teachers must draw on instructional methods from both bilingual education andspecial education to help learners whose native language is not English and whoalso have learning disabilities.One way obviously, is to emphasize communicablelanguage (phrases) rather than the usage of grammar. For example, learning basicphrases / groups of words that are fundamental to communication like: come here,go there, sit down, do this, do that, draw this, write that, see this. These, in anylanguage, can ensure that basic operational words of communication are taken andthe learner can start to use the new language. The teacher’s job then is to build onthis. The focus initially therefore can be on hidden language learning rather thanopen grammar learning. Using learning aids like flash cards is another way toovercome language barrier. This could prove quite useful especially in cases wherea child is learning to identify letters/numbers.Another good way that (Sylvia McNamara at al, 1993) suggested is to pass storiesrather than read them out. As the saying goes: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and Imay remember; involve me and I’ll understand.’’ Taking short stories with morals andwith a lot of action, help children understand the central idea of the story and more
easily; infer the messages while learning to communicate. Creating activities thatinvolve all children will greatly help them learn the new language. This ensures thatall are on a level-playing field. They could be through simple art and craft activities –say drawing on a common theme, watching a movie, listening to or playing music.Games and exercises that call for team work will help them interact with one another.For example, solving puzzles together, crossword, spelling bees, guided storywriting.Teachers can also give learners hand out cards to everybody in class and asklearners to their names, their hobbies and favorite activities and a description of themost interesting experience they have ever had. These cards will also give theteacher some of the information about them such as their handwriting and theirability to express themselves in English. In classes some of the learners find difficultto read and write, clearly learners with reading disability often struggle to translatethe visual symbols of our language into their responding and meanings. Thesedifficulties also include parents/caregivers because they are the first people to worktogether with teachers in order to help those learners who experience reading andwriting difficulties.As parental involvement has a positive impact on a child’s successat school. (L. Conley at al, 2010) suggest that parents should be involved in theschool system at the different levels. As we know that parents used to be involved inschool governance meaning that they have to form a good partnership in order todeal with the individual needs and development of a child.Special schools should be provided by the department of education and thegovernment as a whole for those learners who experience barriers in schools, notonly the language barrier but all difficulties that are faced by the learners. Actuallylanguage is very important to every person around the world because it is the way tomakes us to communicate to each other. English is the languagethat many peopleused as second language especial blacks. So they end up working under pressure inmaking sure that they learn English and able to use it to communicate with otherpeople.
ConclusionThese are just some of the problems that teachers with large classes face whenteaching speaking activities in the classroom. These problems are not new or do thesolutions exist above. Teachers all over the world continue to face the samedifficulties, but any teacher who has overcome these difficulties and now has a largeclass of energetic students talking and working in English in groups together will tellyou it is worth all the experimental and mistake and effort at the beginning. If youbelieve in the importance of teaching speaking skills in the classroom but are havingdifficulties making speaking activities work in your classroom why not contact yourlocal teaching associations. Maybe they run workshops for teaching speaking skills,or maybe they can put you in contact with other teachers in similar situations but withmore experience teaching speaking skills who will be willing to share theirexperiences with each other.