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close this bookTeacher Education for Transformation: The Case of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (CIE, 2002, 73 p.)
close this folderChapter 3: The curriculum of the HDE programme
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Conceptualisation and organisation
View the document3.2 Education Theory
View the document3.3 Teaching styles and methods
View the document3.4 Teaching resources and course materials
View the document3.5 Language of instruction
View the document3.6 Teaching Practice
View the document3.7 Assessment
View the document3.8 Quality Assurance
View the document3.9 Conclusion

3.5 Language of instruction

All readers (except for the subject methods of Afrikaans and Xhosa) are in English, and English constitutes the dominant language of instruction and, most importantly, of assessment in the HDE programme. Student teachers need a fairly good command of the English language to be able to comprehend, appreciate and assimilate the lectures and course materials. However this is not always the case, as indicated by one of the senior subject method lecturers interviewed, who said: “Increasingly students are not proficient in the English language and lack the knowledge about the language.”

There are now eleven official languages in South Africa and using English as the medium of instruction can be problematic to a large number of students following the HDE programme. While one might argue that the HDE programme favours students with a better command of the English language, lecturers are aware of the problems faced by student teachers. Readings are selected to take students’ command of English into account, and examination questions are mostly marked without penalising students for grammatical or stylistic errors. This raises its own pedagogical dilemmas, as lecturers often find it difficult to distil students’ conceptual understanding from their poor use of English