Meaningful communicative abilities trenholm 2011

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meaningful communicative abilities (Trenholm, 2011), where they are able to adapt the acquired communicative abilities for a variety of purposes (Richards, 2006) and, expand their language and communicative abilities beyond the set rules of grammar (Yule, 2011). The South African CAPS document deliberately addresses the development of learner’s competences and equipping learners with the practical abilities to use these communicative abilities outside school, for example the workplace (Department of basic Education, 2011: 4). This has major implications for the focus for South African teaching as the focus shifts from an authoritive and set body of impersonal knowledge to a more practical and communicative acquisition of knowledge, together with skills and the ability to adapt in a variety of communicative situations (Richards, 2006). Too much focus had been placed on Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) and not enough on the development of Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) (Kruger et al, 2013: 167). However, this strong educational approach is undermined in South African schools by curriculum time constraints (Kruger et al, 2013: 170). Not enough time is allowed for collaborative interactions wherein learners engage with their peers. If any interaction should occur, there are only a small number of ways to prove that the interaction was indeed meaningful (Richards, 2006) and not a vast amount of time can be spent of feedback. English Additional Language teachers have to bend over backwards to comply with the basic requirements of the curriculum. Kruger et al (2013) have identified the following communication skills that need to be assessed in an English Additional Language classroom but admits that there is seldom time to do so. These
skills include listening skills, speaking skills, reading skills, writing, spelling, and oral language (Kruger et al, 2013: 172). Additionally, educationists like David Donald,Sandy Lazarus and, Peliwe Lolwana argues that opportunities for “active learning” (Donald et al, 2012: 84) should becreated, and in all essence facilitated, by the teacher. The South African curriculum further states that learning should be done actively and critically (Department of Basic Education, 2011: 4). This principle is in direct agreement with Jack Richards’ (2006) statement that language learning, especially second language learning, should be interactive, collaborative, negotiation of meanings, and experimentation with language (Richards, 2006: 4). This can only occur if learners are actively and critically involved in the classroom situation and classroom practice. Learners are also expected to take a more leading role in accepting responsibility for their educational development. Learner participation is a problem faced in South African schools as some of content being taught proves to be despondent from the learners. Donald et al (2012) identified “connecting familiar to unfamiliar” (Donald et al, 2012: 85) as a key component of the principles of educational practice. This is especially evident in South African schools due to the diversity found in any classroom. As the CAPS document states that a

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