The use of an English language assessment test on South African English additional language (EAL) speakers from an indigenous language and cultural background : a critical evaluation.
The aim of the study is to provide an in-depth interrogation and critique of the use of language assessment tools on populations from indigenous language and cultural backgrounds, culminating in a framework for guiding the adaptation of language assessment tools to be culturally and linguistically relevant for the indigenous South African populations on which they are used. As South Africa is a multilingual and multicultural country, it contributes to understanding the factors that need to be taken into account for acquiring reliable and valid findings with multilingual and multicultural populations. The isiZulu language and culture is used as a basis for the study as the study is conducted in KwaZulu-Natal. This study critically evaluates the assessment of English Additional Language (EAL) speakers who are from an indigenous linguistic and cultural background, using an English expressive language screening tool, the Renfrew Action Picture Test (RAPT) as an example. The cultural and linguistic relevance of this commonly used screening tool is interrogated from four different viewpoints, firstly, the perspective of the children, who are the target population of the tool; secondly, that of the parents and community, who play a significant role in the socialisation of the children; thirdly, from the perspective of the academics from an indigenous language and cultural background, who provide an academic perspective of the tool; and finally, Speech-Language Therapists (SLTs) who administer the tool and interpret the findings. This study uses a mixed methods approach. Multiple data collection methods are used, such as a survey, focus group, individual interviews, test administration and consensus methods. The survey and Delphi technique form the quantitative parts of the research methodology. Patterns of responses from all the sources are analysed and interpreted. Methodologically, the research is unique as it uses children as a source of primary data collection. Children, in research, are usually only used in the administration of the test and their opinion of the tool is not sought. In this study the voice of the children is the main contributor to the data collection. The findings also show that adults, who are often relied on as primary data sources in research on language tools used on children, may have certain misconceptions about children’s knowledge and views. A key finding of this study is that the cultural and linguistic background of the child assessed plays a crucial role in determining and interpreting the responses to the presented material of the language assessment tool. The conscientisation of the Speech Language Therapist and the redefining of her role emerge as pivotal aspects facilitating change. Based on this finding, recommendations, such as that the therapist equips herself with knowledge of the language of the client, the cultural and linguistic background of the child assessed, the type of bilingual that the child is, are made so that the reliability and validity of the findings are not compromised.
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L'utilisation du film dans l'enseignement du français langue étrangère au niveau débutant à l'Université du KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg : une étude de cas. Dye, Marie Françoise Ghyslaine. (2009)No abstract available.
AILA Africa Research Network Launch 2007 : research into the use of the African languages for academic purposes. Wildsmith, Rosemary. (Cambridge University Press for British Council and National Centre for Languages., 2009-01)No abstract available.
Chipila, Rajabu Adamu. (2016)The teaching and learning of indigenous African languages in most African countries has been plagued by various challenges. Dwindling student enrolment rates have been cited as one of these challenges. This has been ...