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Theme: Support Systems and Programs

Towards learning support strategies that work: reflections on language
experiences of first year students at the university of north west

Constance Zulu
English and Academic Skills Unit
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences
University of North WestSouth Africa
E-mail address:[email protected]

The University of North West is a rural institution with a predominantly rural student population, the majority of whom come from schools which are generally disadvantaged and inadequately equipped to prepare students for tertiary learning. Coupled with this is the historical language disadvantage experienced by many black South African students. English is the medium of instruction at the University of North West, as in many tertiary learning institutions in South Africa. For this reason, it is imperative that first year students be given language support to enable them to cope with the demands of tertiary learning. This paper discusses initiatives taken by the University of North West, to provide student learning support strategies in general and language learning support in particular. The paper looks at learning support strategies used by language practitioners in first year classes and in particular, some research based strategies employed by this writer in a first year English and Academic Skills for Law class. The paper also briefly outlines the hurdles and successes experienced in implementing a language support programme at the institution, as well as plans to improve the existing programme, and to tailor it to the ever- changing demands placed upon students by both the academic world and the world of work.

Full Paper in MS Word

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