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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751


SCHULTZ, Annine  y  LE CORDEUR, Michael. The teaching of Literature in the Further Education and Training phase within the framework of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2019, vol.59, n.4, pp.545-561. ISSN 2224-7912.

"The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation." These were the wise words of the well-known German writer and philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). This statement is still relevant, since literature remains vital for the education of world citizens, and should therefore be properly accounted for in the curriculum. In this article we scrutinise the literature section of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in order to determine to what extent it provides in the needs of learners in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase from all social contexts and cultures. More specifically, various sections of literature, poetry, prose and drama were examined to determine whether a large enough variety of social contexts were addressed to accommodate all learners and to ensure the effective teaching of literature. South Africa is a very diverse country, with a variety of languages and cultures, and it is a difficult task to create a literature curriculum that meets everyone's needs. A problem that often occurs, is that the social context of the prescribed work does not match that of the learner. The texts taught in classrooms are not necessarily suitable for learners of all social contexts, and as a result some learners are excluded. The consequences may be that such learners cannot identify with the work, feel distant from the content and find it difficult to understand. In this article we focussed on the shortcomings of the CAPS in particular, in order to determine whether it is appropriate for the effective teaching of literature for all learners in the FET phase and where possible improvements can be made. Questionnaires as well as interviews were used, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methods. The participants consisted of three Afrikaans Home Language FET phase educators from different social contexts in that questionnaires were distributed to an educator of a private school, a model C school and also an ex-FHR school (Former House of Representatives) and these were complemented by interviews. There were also questionnaires distributed to the 24 Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students and interviews were conducted with a cross section of 10% of these students. Although critical of certain aspects of CAPS, the majority of the participants were satisfied with the curriculum. Educators who participated in the investigation were all of the opinion that the CAPS is a clear improvement on the curricula that preceded it. Many participants believed that the problem regarding literature was not part of the curriculum itself, but could rather be ascribed to the list of prescribed works. It seems that the poetry section makes provision for the majority of learners as teachers are afforded the opportunity to choose from a sufficient number of poems, thereby enabling them to cater for learners from different backgrounds. However, the problem lies with the single prescribed prose work, as only one novel is studied annually, thereby preventing teachers from selecting texts that would more adequately appeal to their learners. From the above it may be concluded that while the CAPS as such can be regarded as a suitable curriculum, the sections dealing with literature need further consideration. In this regard revision of the prescribed list, especially in connection with prose, is a recommendation that, in our view, should be considered strongly. The following recommendations are put forward: • The CAPS curriculum is too prescriptive. Greater freedom and autonomy should be given to educators. Educators work with their learners on a daily basis and must be given the freedom and space to make decisions that will benefit their learners. • Too many assessments: Fewer assessments will provide more time for learners to master knowledge. The number of assessments currently prescribed must be revised. • The textbooks are not fully compatible with the curriculum. Several educators believe that the themes are not topical and that their learners struggle to identify with the themes provided in the textbooks. A revision of the themes is thus non-negotiable. The findings arrived at in this article could, if implemented, result in improving the CAPS as a curriculum. The education department should take note of the shortcomings and recommendations as outlined in the article, as these may well strengthen the CAPS and improve the teaching of Afrikaans in schools. If more prescribed works that relate to the youths' environment are made available, it will help to strengthen a love for Afrikaans literature.

Palabras clave : Literature teaching; literature curriculum; CAPS; South Africa; diversity; social context; prescribed works; Afrikaans Home Language; FET phase; PGCE students; teachers.

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