African Language Learning in Schools – School Xhosa
Molweni, Sanibonani, Dumelang, Goeie Dag, Hello
If you are here, reading this, you probably:
a) recognize the vital and urgent power of even basic African language learning, coupled with African cultural awareness, as a way to help forge a united nation and heal wounds from our past, relating to intercultural dynamic
b) are concerned with how we can find a way to make it relevant, convenient and effective for young scholars (the future of this country) and adult learners.
For years the debate has raged, and as recently as this morning, we have seen the headline of the Cape Times proclaim that the new policy will require an extra hour to the school day, much to many teacher’s and learner’s dismay. The issues have been unfolding, often with controversy, for some time!
African languages have been taught at many ‘white’ (arguably where they are needed most) schools over the years and are beset by the following problems with profound consistency:
1) lack of interest from learners (usually one or two white learners finish it for matric)
2) teaching from teachers who have not received training on how to teach their own language as a third language (an equivalent to TEFL – we refer to our methodology and teaching style as TXTL – teaching Xhosa as a third language)
3) old-fashioned course content, which focusses on deep, non-contemporary Xhosa, thus providing learners with very little practical reward (and thus erodes motivation and interest).
4) grammar heavy learning, which results in scholars knowing the noun groups, but not how to greet and introduce in a way that facilitates relationship-building and enjoyment of the language.
5) lack of cultural empathy and connection, thus reduced enthusiasm, respect and little authenticity to the learning process, something ‘white’ learners need, as language and ‘race’ issues in modern SA for whities is particularly about identity, shame/guilt, fear, arrogance, ignorance.
1. PAST: Respecting our local cultures, people and history, for proper reconciliation and healing of all our peoples!
2. FUTURE: Connecting our peoples across socio-economic divides, to build a nation to inspire the world, again!