Original Research

Towards a theory of parental support: Development of English First Additional Language for grade 4 learners

Aubrey T. Tsebe, Vanessa Scherman
Literator | Vol 41, No 1 | a1642 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v41i1.1642 | © 2020 Aubrey T. Tsebe, Vanessa Scherman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 July 2019 | Published: 26 March 2020

About the author(s)

Aubrey T. Tsebe, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Vanessa Scherman, Department of Psychology of Education, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


This article sought to conceptualise guidelines that can assist parents in supporting learners’ development of skills in English First Additional Language (EFAL). It argues that there is a need for a theory of parental support with regard to the development of EFAL of learners. English is both a First Additional Language (FAL) and the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT) in most schools in South Africa. English is a home language to less than ten percent of South Africans. Therefore, for learners who do not have English as their mother tongue, there is an urgent need for language support. This article demonstrates that parents, as key stakeholders in development of EFAL at home, need guidance on how to provide support. Eight (n = 8) parents were selected conveniently to form part of the focus group discussions and to gain understanding of their experiences with regard to supporting the development of EFAL. The results revealed that parental support is a complex process that requires one to consider the interface of systems around the parent and the child. Consequently, the theory of parental support describes how, through the interface of these principles, parents can support second language development. The results of this study have pragmatic and policy implications for parental support with regard to the development of EFAL.


English; learners; parents; theory of parental support; language development.


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doi: 10.38159/ehass.202341310