Beyond classroom walls: The role of a co-curricular English club in supporting second language learning
Second language learners of English in South Africa and beyond face challenges. As a high school teacher of English, I have explored activities that could empower learners in their efforts to learn the language. This paper considers an activity on a beach where learners’ well-being was foregrounded, and classroom constraints were reduced. The activity, underpinned by a critical paradigm, qualitative approach and action research design, aimed to answer the question, how may learners’ attitudes towards spelling be enhanced by an activity outside the classroom? Observations, fieldnotes and reflections revealed that learners are able to transcend their fear of the language in a relaxed environment, they value the learning process when their interests are considered, and when rewarded, their self-confidence increases enabling them to participate in activities for which they initially showed reluctance. This paper therefore argues for the use of alternative teaching methods to complement conventional teaching and assessment methods.
Keywords: second language learners, empowerment, relaxed environment
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