• General Education Modules

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General Education Modules
for Upper Primary and Junior Secondary School Teachers
of Science, Technology and Mathematics by Distance
in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Developed by
The Southern African Development Community
Ministries of Education in:
• Botswana
• Malawi
• Mozambique
• Namibia
• South Africa
• Tanzania
• Zambia
• Zimbabwe
In partnership with The Commonwealth of Learning
Kgomotso Motlotle Education Specialist, Teacher Training,
The Commonwealth of Learning, Canada
Clayton R. Wright Consultant, Grant MacEwan College, Canada
Rodgers Sisimayi Workshop Development Team Leader, Zimbabwe
Alfred Ilukena Workshop Development Team Leader, Namibia
Nhlanganiso Dladla Workshop Development Team Leader, South Africa
Geoffrey Tambulukani Workshop Development Team Leader, Zambia
Matlhoatsie Masendu Workshop Development Team Leader, Botswana
© The Commonwealth of Learning, October 2000
ISBN 1-895369-96-7
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the permission
in writing of the publishers.
The views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the opinions or
policies of The Commonwealth of Learning or SADC Ministries of Education.
The module authors have attempted to ensure that all copyright clearances have been
obtained. Copyright clearances have been the responsibility of each country using the
modules. Any omissions should be brought to their attention.
Published jointly by The Commonwealth of Learning and the SADC Ministries of
Residents of the eight countries listed above may obtain modules from their
respective Ministries of Education. The Commonwealth of Learning will consider
requests for modules from residents of other countries.
This module is one of a series prepared under the auspices of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) and The Commonwealth of
Learning as part of the Science, Technology and Mathematics Programme
(STAMP 2000+). These General Education modules enable teachers to
enhance their professional skills through distance and open learning. Many
individuals and groups have been involved in writing and producing these
modules. We trust that they will benefit not only the teachers who use them,
but also, ultimately, their students and the communities and nations in
which they live.
The eighteen General Education modules are as follows:
Module 1: Multigrade Teaching: Introduction to Multigrade Teaching
Module 2: Multigrade Teaching: Classroom Organisation and Management
Module 3: The Reading Process
Module 4: Developing Reading Skills
Module 5: Special Educational Needs: An Introduction to Teaching
Traumatised Children
Module 6: Special Educational Needs: A Practical Guide to Teaching
Traumatised Children
Module 7: Education Management Development: Part A
Module 8: Education Management Development: Part B
Module 9: Child Development
Module 10: Concepts of Learning
Module 11: An Introduction to Concepts in Language and Communication
Module 12: Language and Communication: Language in Use
Module 13: Curriculum Theory, Design and Assessment
Module 14: Curriculum Practice
Module 15: A Theoretical Framework on Innovations in Education
Module 16: Effects of Social Changes on Education
Module 17: Comparative Education: Introduction to Key Concepts in
Comparative Education
Module 18: Comparative Education: Themes and Trends in Comparative
Education in SADC Countries
The Commonwealth of Learning is grateful for the generous
contribution of the participating Ministries of Education. The
Permanent Secretaries for Education played an important role
in facilitating the implementation of the 1998-2000 project
work plan by releasing officers to take part in workshops and
meetings and by funding some aspects of in-country and
regional workshops. The Commonwealth of Learning is also grateful for
the support that it received from the British Council (Botswana and
Zambia offices), the Open University (UK), Northern College (Scotland),
CfBT Education Services (UK), the Commonwealth Secretariat (London),
the South Africa College for Teacher Education (South Africa), the
Netherlands Government (Zimbabwe office), the British Department for
International Development (DFID) (Zimbabwe office) and Grant MacEwan
College (Canada).
The Commonwealth of Learning would like to acknowledge the excellent
technical advice and management of the project provided by the strategic
contact persons, the broad curriculum team leaders, the writing team
leaders, the workshop development team leaders and the regional
monitoring team members. The materials development would not have
been possible without the commitment and dedication of all the course
writers, the in-country reviewers and the secretaries who provided the
support services for the in-country and regional workshops.
Finally, The Commonwealth of Learning is grateful for the instructional
design and review carried out by teams and individual consultants as
• Grant MacEwan College (Alberta, Canada):
General Education Courses
• Open Learning Agency (British Columbia, Canada):
Science, Technology and Mathematics
• Technology for Allcc. (Durban, South Africa):
Upper Primary Technology
• Hands-on Management Services (British Columbia, Canada):
Junior Secondary Technology
Dato’ Professor Gajaraj Dhanarajan
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Commonwealth of Learning National Ministry of Education
1285 West Broadway, Suite 600 Private Bag X603
Vancouver, BC V6H 3X8 Pretoria 0001
Canada South Africa
Ministry of Education Ministry of Education and Culture
Private Bag 005 P.O. Box 9121
Gaborone Dar es Salaam
Botswana Tanzania
Ministry of Education and Culture Ministry of Education
Private Bag 328 P. O. Box 50093
Capital City Lusaka
Lilongwe 3 Zambia
Ministry of Education, Sport and
Ministério da Eduação Culture
Avenida 24 de Julho No 167, 8 P. O. Box CY 121
Caixa Postal 34 Causeway
Maputo Harare
Mozambique Zimbabwe
Ministry of Basic Education, Sports
and Culture
Private Bag 13186
Brigid Matenge Senior Lecturer
Communication and Study Skills
Molepolole College of Education
Africa Moyo Education Officer (English)
Masvingo Region
Ministry of Education, Sport and
Gray B. Nyathi Education Officer (English)
Midlands Region
Ministry of Education, Sport and
Ookeditse James Moyambo Senior Education Officer (English)
Ministry of Education
Victor Boy Maika Senior Education Officer (In-Service)
Ministry of Education
Matlhoatsie Masendu Principal Education Officer (English)
Ministry of Education
Rodgers G. Sisimayi Regional Director
Manicaland Region
Ministry of Education, Sport and
Geoffrey Tambulukani Lecturer
University of Zambia
The Commonwealth of Learning and the Workshop Development
Team are grateful to the writers and secretarial support staff in
Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe for working so diligently in order to
produce the training modules according to the agreed schedule. This
module was reviewed and edited by Clayton R. Wright, Evelyn
Ellerman and Judith T. Johnson, Grant MacEwan College, Canada.
Language in Use
It has been observed that most of our newly appointed teachers and the
untrained teachers in the Southern African Development Community need
assistance in the teaching approaches that take into account individual
differences in children. It is for this reason that this module was developed. It
is our hope that you will use the content of this module to help you with your
duties as a teacher.
This module focuses on language and communication and should be
completed after you have studied Module 11.
Learning Tips.................................................................................. 5
Unit 1: Communication Contexts.................................................. 7
Language and Context
Communication Contexts
Why Do We Communicate Differently in Different Situations?
Unit 2: Language, Communication and Culture .......................... 14
Introduction to Culture
Relationships between Language, Communication and Culture
Cross-Cultural Communication
Culture in the Classroom
Unit 3: Language and Change ...................................................... 21
Definition of Pidgin and Creole
Why Do Languages Change?
Language and Change
Unit 4: Language and Emerging Issues........................................ 28
Population Education
Language and Gender
Environmental Education
Human Rights
Unit 5: The Process of Language Learning .................................. 40
Key Components in Language Learning
The Process of Learning a Language
Factors That Make Learning a Language Difficult
About Errors That Language Learners Make
Individual Differences and Their Impact on Language Learning
Unit 6: Language Planning, Literacy and Education ................... 48
Reasons for Language Planning
The Language Planning Process
The Standard Language Uses
Language Policy
Language Policy and Literacy
Problems Faced by Linguistic Minorities
Language in Education
Attitude and Motivation
Unit 7: Communication in the Classroom................................... 56
An Introduction to Classroom Communication
The Use of Language in Classroom Interaction
Affective Communication in the Classroom
How to Develop Effective Attending Behaviours
Lesson Presentation Skills
Using Teaching and Learning Aids and Resources
Unit 8: Identifying Communication Problems in the School ...... 70
The School as an Organisational Structure
How Is Information Passed?
Face-to-Face Communication
The Teacher
Method of Communicating
The Pupil
The Results of Poor Communication
Module Test .................................................................................. 81
References .................................................................................... 82
You will find the following tips helpful as you study this module.
• Set aside some time each day to work on this module. If
possible, study at the same time and in the same place so you
are comfortable with your study surroundings. Learning at a
distance requires discipline and motivation.
• Go through the module unit by unit.
• Note any words you do not understand. Look them up in a
dictionary or other reference source or discuss them with your
• Underline or highlight important passages. Make summary
notes in the margins of long passages. Writing will help you to
remember the material. You may also choose to make diagrams
that illustrate how different ideas are related or list the steps in
a procedure or technique.
• As you work through this module, keep in mind your learners
and their educational needs as well as your instructional
goals and your subject matter. How will you apply what you are
• Read the assignment instructions carefully. Then, do all the
self-assessment activities before proceeding to the Suggested
Answers section.
• As you undertake each activity, relate it to the practice of
teaching and analyse how it will help you to enhance the
teaching-learning situation. Always ask yourself how you could
use this material.
• Apply some of the suggested techniques to your teaching.
All suggestions may not be appropriate for your situation, but
how will you know unless you try them? Keep a record of what
techniques work and an explanation of why some techniques
appeared to fail. What does not work now may work later with
different students.
• It may be difficult, but try to meet occasionally with other
teachers to discuss the content and application of suggestions
provided in this module.
• If you experience difficulty in understanding some aspect of the
module, do not despair! You are meant to be challenged. Do
not give up! Just remember that your goal is to be the best
teacher that you can be. Think of what you would tell a student
who was experiencing difficulty in your classroom. Then, apply
the same advice to yourself.
Throughout each module, you will find the following icons or graphic
symbols that alert you to a change in activity within the module. Only
the icons that are required are used in each module.
Text or Reading Material: provides information about
the topics that are covered in a module. The subject
matter for each SADC module is organised into units.
Introductory Activity: requires you to focus on the
content that will be discussed in a unit.
Self-Assessment: enables you to check your
understanding of what you have read and, in some cases,
to apply the information presented in the unit to new
Practice Activity: encourages you to review and apply
what you have learned before taking a unit test.
Reflection: asks you to relate what you have learned to
☺ your work as a teacher or education officer in your
Summary: highlights or provides an overview of the most
important points covered in a unit.
Unit Test: concludes each unit.

Suggested Answers: allow you to evaluate your learning
by providing sample answers to assessments, activities,
and the unit test.
UNIT 1: Communication Contexts
After completing Module 11, you should now be familiar with
the elements of communication, namely, the sender, the
message, the system, the language and the receiver. In this
unit, we will explore another element of communication, the
context of communication.
In our daily interactions, we find ourselves in different
situations and have to adapt not only our behaviour but also,
more importantly, how we use language. Therefore, the overall
aim of this unit is to introduce you to different communication
contexts and how these determine the language you use for
effective communication.
After completing this unit, you should be able to:
1. Discuss how register affects communication.
2. Identify different communication contexts.
3. Give reasons for communicating differently in different
Language and Context
Language varies according to the user. Age, gender, origin and
the social class of the individual all affect language use. The
context of where, when and how people learn language often
determines the way they use it throughout life.
Consider the following quotation from Wallwork (1982: 99):
Most of us speak quite differently when we
speak to different people, to a child, to a friend
or to a supervisor at work. We even speak
differently to the same person when we meet
him in different circumstances.
The above passage demonstrates how context affects language
and which language we use. We use different words and tone to
suit the situation in which we find ourselves. Certain levels of
language are considered appropriate in particular
circumstances. Wallwork (1982: 107) provides three sentences
about someone talking to his wife, colleague and supervisor,
• “Met that fool John today. Wants his job back – can you
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 7
• “Do you remember John Jones? I met him today, and he
said he’d like his job back. I think he is optimistic, don’t
• “I met Mr Jones yesterday, sir, who used to work here if
you remember. He asked me to inquire whether his post
was still open and whether there was any chance of his
taking it up again. I said I would pass the message on,
The three statements above contain the same factual
information. However, the difference lies in the manner in
which the information is conveyed. The register, or level of
language, adopted by the speaker in each sentence varies
depending on the relationship between the speaker and the
Context may also affect which language is used. For example, a
student might use English to a lecturer, Setswana to a friend
and Ikalanga to a family member. Each language is used to
achieve a different purpose.
Language is dynamic. Therefore, we need to adopt the
descriptive approach as opposed to the traditional prescriptive
approach. Language varies according to:
• what you are talking about,
• how you say it, and
• where you are.
For example, if you spoke in class as you would in a pub, you
would be considered rude.
Language variations according to the user. The language
used is determined by the characteristics of the user, such as
age, sex, origin and social class. These determine the user’s
Language variations according to use. While dialect depends
on the characteristics of the user, register has to do with the
use of the language. This register is divided into three
• tenor,
• mode, and
• domain.
Tenor deals with the relationship between the speaker and the
addressee in a given situation. For example, if someone shouts,
“Get out of here!” it would signal some strained relationship.
On the other hand, if someone says, “Could you please wait for
me outside?” this shows some cordial relationship between the
speaker and the addressee.
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 8
Mode refers to the actual medium of transmitting information.
It refers to both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Domain refers to the way language varies according to the
activity in which it plays a part. For example, the language
used in court, in advertisements and in church serves different
Communication Contexts
These will be discussed under three categories: psychological,
organisational and socio-cultural contexts.
Psychological Context
This kind of communication context is determined by the
relationship between the speaker and the audience or
addressee. The relationship may be a new one or a pre-existing
one. For example, a supervisor says to the subordinate, “Come
to my office.” This might mean that the subordinate has been
warned before. The psychological context is therefore one of
Organisational Context
Organisational context refers to the culture of an
organisation. It must be stressed that organisational culture in
this case refers to the good relationships and networks that are
a result of shared norms, values and aspirations. The
successful accomplishment of goals in formal organisations
depends very much on the communication practices employed.
Communication of information in organisations may flow in
several directions: upward, downward and laterally. Downward
flow of communication tends to carry authority and may seem
more efficient in some organisations; however, too much
reliance on downward flow may produce a closed organisational
culture in which subordinates feel they have no power. Upward
flow of communication occurs in organisations where power is
shared more often; subordinates feel that they can contribute
to problem-solving in an organisational culture that is relatively
open. Lateral flow of communication forms part of the informal
network of gossip and discussion in an organisation, or it may
be part of the formal network of teamwork and cooperative
decision making.
Socio-Cultural Context
The cultural implications of communication were discussed in
detail in Unit 7 of Module 11. What is being emphasised here is
that we need to employ the appropriate language in a given
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 9
Self-Assessment 1
Study the three quotations about Mr John Jones cited at the
beginning of the unit. Discuss the similarities and differences
between the statements.
Possible answers to this activity are provided at the end of this
Why Do We Communicate Differently
in Different Situations?
The effect of language is determined by the way it is used.
Language varies according to the situation in which it is used,
the communication context. We need to communicate
differently in different situations in order to:
• avoid communication breakdown,
• be clearly understood,
• be relevant, and
• avoid offending others.
Self-Assessment 2
Show how the use of appropriate language in certain situations
is particularly relevant in your work. Give examples.
Possible answers to this activity are provided at the end of this
Practice Activity
What kind of language would you use in the following
Situation Language
Morning assembly at school
Talking to friends at a reception
or party
Keynote address at a conference
Talking to a colleague about a
weekend game
Talking to your neighbour about
a birthday party
Requesting a transfer from your
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 10
Possible answers to this activity are provided at the end of this
This unit has examined the various contexts in which language
can be used. These contexts depend on the characteristics of
the speaker, on the relationship between the speaker and the
audience, on the speaker’s intention, and on the situation in
which they find themselves. It is important to use appropriate
language in a given situation so as to improve understanding
and avoid not only communication breakdown, but also the
confusion and frustration that are counter-productive in an
organisation. We hope that you find the ideas discussed in this
unit relevant to your work and that you will reflect on them as
you interact with your colleagues and students.
☺ Think of an incident when you communicated the same
information to three people in different ways. Why did you have
to change your style when you gave the same information to
the three people?
Unit Test
? Discuss how the following are important in communication:
• psychological context,
• organisational context, and
• socio-cultural context.
Possible answers to this test are provided at the end of this
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 11
Suggested Answers
✓ Self-Assessment 1
The similarity among all three messages is that each message
contained the same information about Mr John Jones wanting
to return to his former job.
The differences between the messages are noted below.
• The first quotation uses very informal language. The
sarcastic tone shows an informal and close relationship
between the speaker and addressee.
• The second quotation uses rather informal language.
The speaker is talking to a colleague of similar status.
• The third quotation uses very formal language, as the
individual is speaking with a supervisor.
Self-Assessment 2
Language use will vary according to the situation. For example,
when giving instructions or reprimanding students, the
language you use is most likely to be formal. The language may
be informal when you tell the students a story.
Language will also vary depending upon the subject matter
being taught. For example, when discussing advertisements, an
accident, a court scene or the rules of a game, the language
and vocabulary must be appropriate for the pupils and the
subject matter.
Practice Activity
The kinds of language that would be used in the situations
described in the table are specified below.
Situation Language
Morning assembly at school Formal language
Talking to friends at a reception or Informal and/or
party formal language
Keynote address at a conference Formal language
Talking to a colleague about a Informal language
weekend game
Talking to your neighbour about a Informal or familiar
birthday party language
Requesting a transfer from your Formal language
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 12
Unit Test
The three communication contexts:
• Psychological: communication is clear, appropriate and
relevant if the relationship between the speaker and the
addressee or audience is recognised.
• Organisational: organisational culture refers to
appropriate norms, values and behaviours as well as
how these are reflected in the information flow within
the organisation.
• Socio-cultural: this refers to the use of language that is
relevant to a given cultural situation.
Module 12, Unit 1: Communication Contexts 13
UNIT 2: Language, Communication
and Culture
In Module 11, we discussed language and communication. In
this unit, we will link language and communication to culture.
The following questions will help us focus our discussion.
• What is culture?
• What is the relationship between language and culture?
• Is language a determining factor in the way we perceive
the world?
After completing this unit, you should be able to:
1. Define culture.
2. Discuss the relationship between language, communication
and culture.
3. Discuss the importance of culture in the classroom.
Introduction to Culture
Culture is a complex concept that is widely used in a variety of
fields such as sociology, economics and anthropology. In this
unit, however, we will focus on the relevance of culture in
human interactions.
Culture has been defined as:
the integrated pattern of human knowledge,
belief or behaviour that depends upon man’s
capacity for learning and transmitting
knowledge to successive generations.
(Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary,
1987: 314)
The entire pattern of behaviour and beliefs of a
group of people. (Serfert, 1983: 125)
The sum of language, values, beliefs, habits
and practice shared by a large group of people.
(Book et al., 1980: 20)
All aspects of shared life in a community.
(Rivers, 1981: 316)
Module 12, Unit 2: Language, Communication and Culture 14
You will notice that the definitions express the following:
• shared life;
• behaviour, beliefs and values; and
• a group of people or a community.
The characteristics above are the focal point of the cultural
context of communication.
Relationships between Language, Communication
and Culture
It is difficult to separate language from the culture in which it
is embedded. The definition of culture includes language as an
aspect of culture because it is acquired by an individual as a
member of society.
People learn a language along with the ways, attitudes and
beliefs of the social group, and these are expressed through
language. Hence we say language is an integral part of the
social system. The language that people learn as children
dictates what should and should not be said, and where and
when to say it.
As members of a particular society or group, children learn,
among other things:
• what people in that culture value,
• how they act,
• how they perceive the world, and
• how they express what they think.
These attitudes, reactions and unspoken assumptions become
part of people’s lives without them being conscious of them.
Features that are determined by culture may be recognised in
people’s actions, social relationships, morals and even through
the art and literature which members of the group produce and
appreciate. The San paintings are an example of an expression
of a way of life.
Communication and culture complement each other; the
values, common language and shared historical experiences
are transmitted within and between generations through
communication. Communication therefore is influenced by
culture. For example, folktales, proverbs and idioms that are
used to teach morals and values are passed on from generation
to generation.
In many cultures, there are rules that govern the interactions
of people. These show the agreements shared by most members
of a particular culture. For example, when two people exchange
greetings, there may be a sequence that is to be followed. If it is
disrupted, the cultural rules may be violated. Cultural rules
Module 12, Unit 2: Language, Communication and Culture 15
strongly influence the content of many messages. You have
rules that must be followed in your classroom. If these are
violated, different interpretations of the content may occur,
resulting in a breakdown in the flow of communication.
Cross-Cultural Communication
As complex as communication can be within a single culture,
that complexity is multiplied many times over in cross-cultural
communication. The differences in attitudes, beliefs and
experiences in different cultures may produce a wide range of
acceptable communication practices.
There are differences that occur across cultures that may affect
both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Non–Verbal Communication. In some cultures, people are
very conscious of their personal space. If someone moves too
close to them, their reaction is to move further away. The two
people will then interpret each other’s actions differently. The
one who is moving away may be thought of as cold or aloof. The
person who is trying to move closer may be thought as being
pushy or inconsiderate. This difference in response will
therefore hinder communication.
Verbal Communication. In many cultures, children are
expected to remain silent and respectful in the company of
adults. In other cultures, it may be perfectly normal for
children to say “you are a liar” to parents.
Self-Assessment 1
What is the relationship between language and culture?
Possible answers to this activity are provided at the end of this
Culture in the Classroom
Do you think we should expose our students to different
cultures in our classrooms? Think about this question while
you read through this section.
The definition of culture emphasises beliefs, behaviour and
living within a community or group. Your students are part of a
community and, as such, identify with a certain culture or
cultures. However, they also exist in a national and global
community and must learn to accept other cultures. As a
teacher, you should develop in your students the skills,
knowledge, information, attitudes and habits leading to the
following qualities:
• Self-realisation. As students read, their intellectual
curiosity is aroused and satisfied. They may also be
motivated to pursue other interests.

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