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An English for academic purposes needs analysis for Grade 12 learners of English as a second language in the Northern Province

The main aim of the research conducted for this dissertation was to identify the EAP skills that Grade 12 learners need in order to succeed in their examinations. A needs analysis was conducted through the analysis of 39 Grade 12 examination question papers over five years (1995-2000) in the following disciplines: Agricultural Science, History, Physical Science, Biology, Business Economics, and Geography. Trimble’s (1985) rhetorical-grammatical approach used in English for Science and Technology (EST) was adapted for the study. The analysis of the data shows that the various rhetorical functions that Grade 12 learners are required to perform in the examination tend to occur in varying degrees across the Grade 12 curriculum. The findings also reveal a propensity, in Grade 12 examination papers, by examiners to ask questions that fall under what Bloom (1956) calls the ‘cognitive domains of knowledge and comprehension’ to the detriment of other cognitive domains. The cognitive domain of knowledge and comprehension constituted 85.1% of all the question types in Grade 12 examination from 1995-2000. By contrast the other cognitive domains: application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation constituted a mere 14.1% of the question types examined in Grade 12 examination in six subjects for the past five years. One of the pedagogic implications of this finding is the need to strike a balance in the question types represented in the Grade 12 examination so that question types that fall under higher cognitive domains are fairly represented in the Grade 12 examination. Given that our new education system, outcomes based education (OBE), is moving away from the traditional approach of education characterized by rote learning, our examination should also represent this new paradigm shift. The pedagogic implications for the EAP skills identified in this study, e.g. explaining, defining, naming, report writing, describing, interpreting graphs, cartoons and other visual aids, is that these skills can be taught to enable students to use the language appropriately in the target situation, viz the examinations. In undertaking the needs analysis for this study, care was taken to go beyond the descriptive stage which generally consists of identifying the EAP skills for Grade 12 learners, thus acknowledging the existing forms. Indeed, the analysis was also ‘critical’, following Benesch (1996), in that it allowed for a search for possible areas of change by exposing areas of weakness in the South African education system.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
4 CHAPTER 1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the study The Northern Province has been one of the worst of the eight provinces in matriculation pass rate. It has not recorded a pass rate of at least 50% in the past five years. This low pass rate can be attributed to, inter alia, the fact that Grade 12 learners perform poorly in content subjects such as Biology, Geography, History, Physical Science and others because they lack competence in the medium of instruction, particularly the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) skills. As most Grade 12 subjects are taught in English, learners are expected to answer questions in the examination using English. In Grade 12 examinations writing plays an important because as Kasanga (1999:125) states, referring to undergraduate students (mostly first year university students with a profile comparable to that of Grade 12 learners) ‘students’ knowledge and academic performance is mainly assessed through [it]’. The type of English that learners use in writing is cognitively demanding as compared to the type of English that they use for oral communication both in the classroom and outside the classroom. Cummins (1984) makes a clear distinction between two types of English: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP). The issue here is that learners need more CALP than BICS in order to be able to tackle tasks that are cognitively demanding. In the examination the learner needs more than fluency in the language in order to successfully answer examination questions. The problem is that the textbooks used in Grade 12 to teach English put more emphasis on BICS than CALP. The skills that these textbooks teach only serve to

International thesis/dissertation

Autore: Isaac Nkuna Contatta »

Composta da 81 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 1079 click dal 08/02/2006.


Consultata integralmente una volta.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.