AN EVALUATION OF FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTETO ENGLISH SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN THE UPPER PRIMARY PHASE OF AN URBAN SCHOOL IN NAMIBIA: A CASE STUDY
Majority of Namibian learners are not native speakers of English, that is, they barely speak English in their homes. Yet English is the medium of instruction in many Namibian schools. Many Namibian learners therefore face the double challenge of acquiring the English as the language of teaching and learning (Medium of Instruction) and at the same time developing the appropriate reading and writing proficiency needed to meet the requirements of the curriculum. This situation has created numerous teaching and learning problems which ultimately contribute to poor literacy levels among many Namibian learners.This paper focuses on language acquisition and literacy. It explores factors that contributes to effective English language acquisition as well as investigate and evaluate how the school context supports English language acquisition of the Upper Primary learners at an urban school in Namibia. Since the study targeted young learners, it has covered their reading skills, reading tools and resources such as the library and classroom which provides a rich learning environment. A qualitative interpretive approach was used to explore the factors that contribute to effective learners’ English second language acquisition. The theoretical framework was informed by Krashen’’s conception of acquisition (1981; 1982). Data collection methods consisted of questionnaires and interviews were used. The findings indicated that the provision of well-structured classroom activities containing comprehensible input structures a bit beyond the learners current level – and a low affective filter to allow them to acquire the second language easily. Moreover, error-based activities help learners to test hypothesis, revise and modify them and in the process develop good language awareness skills that help them to acquire and learn the language consciously. This paper suggests that a good supporting environment for reading, which is scaffold by enough assistance by the teachers and peers helps learners develop good language acquisition and learning skills.
2. Chomsky, C. (1972). Stages in language development and reading exposure. In Minami, M. K. & Kennedy, P. B. (1991). Language issues in literacy and Bilingual or multicultural education. Cambridge: Harvard Educational Review.
3. Cohen, L. Manion, L.,& Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education (5th ed). London: Routledge.
4. Cunningham, A. & Stanovich, K. (2003). Reading can make you smarter. Retrieved on January 23, 2006, from, 53 (4) http://www.naesp.org/ContentLoad.do?contentId=108=print
5. Donato, R. (1994). Collective scaffolding in second language learning. In J.P. Lantolf & G. Appel (Eds.), Vygotskian approaches to second language research (pp. 33-56). Westport: Ablex Publishing.
6. Falk, J. S. (1979). Language acquisition and the teaching and learning of writing. College English 41. 436-447.
7. Greenman, J. (1998) Caring space, learning places: Children’s environment that works. Redmond: Exchange Press.
8. Johnston, R.B., & Christensen, L. B. (2007) Educational research: Quantitative, qualitative and mixed approaches. (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.
9. Krashen, S.D. & Terrell, T. D. (1983). The Natural Approach: Language acquisition in the classroom. London: Prentice-Hall International Ltd.
10. Krashen, S.D. (1981). Principles and practice in Second Language Acquisition. London: Prentice-Hall International Ltd.
11. Krashen, S.D. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon.
12. Krashen, S.D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.
13. Krashen, S.D. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. New York: Longman.
14. Lightbown, P.M. & Spada, N. (1999). How languages are learned (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
15. Murray, S. (2006). Extract from an evaluation document. Grahamstown: Rhodes University.
16. Rhodes University. (2010). Core Text 1: Acquiring language and literacy. Grahamstown: Rhodes University.
17. Schultz, R. (2007). Stephen Krashen’s Theory of Second Language Acquisition. Retrieved on April 27, 2010, from http://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html
18. Schumm, J.S. (Ed.). (2006). Reading assessment and instruction for all learners. New York: Guilford Press.
19. Vygotsky, L. S. (1981). The genesis of higher mental functions. In Wertsch, J.V. (Ed). The concept of activity in social psychology. 144-188. Amonk, NY: ME. Sharpe, Inc.
20. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. In Cole, M., John-Steiner, V., Scribner, S. & Souberman, E (Eds). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
21. Wilson, R. (2000). A summary of Stephen Krashen’s “Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition”. Retrieved on April 27, 2010, from http://www.languageimpact.com/articles/rw/krashenbk.htm
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.