The attitudes of isiXhosa-speaking students toward various languages of learning and teaching (LOLT) issues at Rhodes University
This study aims at eliciting opinions and beliefs of isiXhosa-speaking students to revealtheir attitudes toward various languages of learning and teaching (LOLT) issues at RhodesUniversity, and to determine the influence of a number of variables (such as age, gender,schooling background, level of study and field of study) on these attitudes. Another aim of the study is to compare the findings of this research to the recent findings on isiXhosaspeaking students’ language attitudes at the University of the Western Cape (Dyers 1999) and the University of Fort Hare (Dalvit 2004). Qualitative and quantitative methods were used: data was gathered using a survey that employed a questionnaire and interviews (individual and focus group). The questionnaire data is analysed through using percentage scores as well as mean values coupled with Chi-square tests, while the interviews are analysed qualitatively to further confirm the results of the quantitative analysis. Results are also compared with other recent surveys at South African universities.
The results reveal that respondents had a generally positive attitude toward English as LOLT, based mainly on instrumental motivations. More importantly, there was a positive attitude toward the use of isiXhosa alongside English. The motivations for the use of isiXhosa were both instrumental and integrative in nature. The majority of respondents who supported a bilingual arrangement did not, however, believe that a fully-fledged bilingual policy would be practical, mainly because of the multilingual nature of Rhodes University. They felt, however, that providing English and isiXhosa exam question-papers, bilingual tutor support and isiXhosa definitions of discipline-specific technical terms would facilitate learning. Most of the variables mentioned above had an influence on the relevant language attitudes, often confirming the findings of other studies. For instance, schooling background greatly influenced the language attitudes of respondents. Those from previously advantaged English-only schools showed very positive attitudes toward an English-only policy, while most respondents from formerly disadvantaged DET bilingual schools were favourably disposed toward a bilingual policy of English and isiXhosa at Rhodes University.
A comparison of the findings of this study with those of recent findings on isiXhosa students’ language attitudes at other universities reveals that respondents at the University of Fort Hare were most favourable toward a bilingual policy, those at the University of the Western Cape were to some extent favourable toward a bilingual arrangement, while respondents at Rhodes University were least favourable toward a bilingual policy.
School Location:South Africa
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:english language and linguistics
Date of Publication:01/01/2008