barely communicative. Learners’ attitude towards the language is also not the same. Learners
entering the foundation phase become vulnerable and nervous to communicate in a new
language, especially a language they do not understand. Learners at this stage of schooling are
still developing their home language and as a result they become confused and afraid when
introduced to an additional language, particularly in Grade R and Grade 1.
For these reasons teachers also need to consider and accommodate the diverse needs, learning
abilities, learning styles and the unique attitudes of all learners when planning and preparing
lessons. Furthermore, Phatudi and Motilal (2014), maintain that teachers need to be aware of the
factors which influence learners when learning an additional language in context. These factors
could help teachers with their teaching as well as make them aware of some possible contextual
problems learners may experience when learning an additional language.
The learners’ ability to concentrate when listening to an additional language will determine their
ability to successfully acquire language. Listening is the first skill that is carefully developed in
children in Grade R as they are trained to listen carefully for sounds to hear language. The more
they hear, the more they absorb, internally. Listening to and hearing repetitive words spoken in
English enable learners to distinguish sound patterns and gradually decode and process words.
Their ability to recall and remember certain words will also improve. Learners, especially in Grade
R and Grade 1 must be given maximum opportunities every day to practice rhymes, poems and
songs can listen to and familiarise themselves to sounds.
Stop and think
Why do you think it is so important for young children to hear language?
When teachers are motivated and enthusiastic to teach a language, they are also able to
encourage and motivate learners to learn. As a teacher, you should use innovative ways to teach
the language so that learners do not feel pressured to learn an additional language. Make use of
positive reinforcements (motivators) to encourage the learners to participate in activities and