SABC News - Language skills linked to maths performance: Zenex foundation:Friday 26 June 2015

Language skills linked to maths performance: Zenex foundation

Friday 26 June 2015 11:41

Lebo Tshangela

Gail Campbell says mother tongue education is important.

Gail Campbell says mother tongue education is important.(SABC)

There is a link between language competency and maths performance in South Africa.

This is according to a research commissioned by NGO, the Zenex Foundation presented at a media briefing in Johannesburg.

The foundation’s CEO, Gail Campbell says mother tongue education is important because you learn best in the language you developed at home.

“When you come to school and then you begin to learn, you take your oral skills, listening and speaking into reading and writing and we know that language is important for mathematics because in mathematics you learn a lot of complex subjects that require language for you to understand.”

She says, “You must first learn your mother tongue in the first three years and then switch to English in Grade 4, alongside learning your mother tongue. If your mother tongue is not English then we must introduce English in Grade 4.”

“So by the time you get to Grade 4, you have a strong grounding in your mother tongue and you are also being introduced into English because that is when the maths content becomes more complex as you get to Grade 4.”

We are saying both are important and both are good grounding for mathematics

Campbell has applauded the fact that the Department of Education has started introducing English as a second language from Grade1.

“We are applauding this because what used to happen before is that we just had a switch at Grade 4 and if you think of a young child if their mother tongue is isiZulu and they were learning for three years in isiZulu and then suddenly they make that switch in Grade 4, when they have to start learning everything in English, you can imagine the difficulty for that learner to start switching.”

“So what the department has done to support it, it has started introducing English as another subject from Grade 1 and gradually introducing the English. We are saying both are important and both are good grounding for mathematics,” she adds.

Click below to watch video.

Share this page: Printer friendly version
 
SABC ©