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The impact of non-academic incidences on instructional time: A study of teachers teaching: English first additional language (EFAL)
Most learners whose home language is not English encounter mounting challenges when learning English as an additional language in schools. Navigating the learning discourses of such learners’ impact on instructional time. Efficient utilization of instructional time is crucial, as it is the time teachers spend teaching knowledge, concepts, and skills pertaining to school subjects. However, studies have shown that the amount of instructional time is diminished by interruptive activities, herein referred to as non-academic incidences. Non-academic incidences tend to obstruct the efficient enactment of lessons. The thesis investigated the extent to which non-academic incidences impact on instructional time during the teaching of English First Additional Language (EFAL), as well as explored how teachers addressed challenges emanating from non-academic incidences. The study utilized qualitative research approaches comprising of classroom observations and a focus group interview. The participants consisted of in-service teachers teaching in under-resourced schools and also enrolled in the Advanced Certificate in Education course at a university in Cape Town. The research identified some of the critical non-academic incidences pertaining specifically to EFAL, including inappropriate use of pedagogic strategies, poor use of code switching and unsuitable teaching exemplars. Other factors consist of the negative attitudes of both teachers and learners towards other learners who are less proficient in English language and possess poor linguistic ability. In addition, non-subject specific non-academic incidences identified included unpreparedness of teachers, teachers’ digression from core lesson, discipline problems in the classroom, lack of school management capability to protect instructional time, lack of EFAL teaching and learning resources, overcrowding, and impact of socio-economic status of learners. This research argues that to reduce non-academic incidences and maximize instructional time requires collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to develop formalized policy guidelines. Educators need training and support to create the uninterrupted atmosphere suitable for learning. Furthermore, educators need to be encouraged to willingly implement tailor-made initiatives to address specific challenges and learners must be motivated to develop a positive attitude towards EFAL. Educators should be provided with teaching aids and specialised learning resources. Even though increasing instructional time is advocated, the cost implication and utilization must be considered. The study could guide educational stakeholders to formulate appropriate policies to enhance efficient utilization of instructional time and also provide insights into the debilitating effects of non-academic incidences on teaching/learning environments.