The impact of a monolingual medium of instruction in a multilingual university in South Africa
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
University of Fort Hare, South Africa
This paper investigates the impacts of a monolingual medium of instruction (MOI) in a multilingual university in South Africa. It offers a critical examination of the different effects (both positive and negative) this may have on learning and of course academic performance of the students. It further examines why the students may or may not prefer the selected medium of instruction and the effect this has on their learning abilities. Hence the analysis of these different views would inform and improve the teaching and learning in the classroom at higher education level as the lecturers would be informed of the outcomes thus leading to different strategic approaches that would be used in teaching and learning. In addition, the paper presents the factors that appear to play a role in shaping the students' ideologies and attitudes towards English, a language used as a MOI across most if not all universities in South Africa and which many of the students appear to find difficult to use in academic learning. The findings from this qualitative study are examined using studies on language ideologies by Kroskrity (2000) and language policy and planning by Spolsky and Shohamy (2000) and Brumfit (2006).