Language learning is already complex and challenging by nature as different types of learners continue to experience difficulties learning their African languages. As innovative, 21st-century educators, teachers must be creative in selecting the most effective methods for teaching indigenous home languages to make learning less difficult and more interesting for learners. Less fun or presumably too formal learning strategies do not improve learners’ language skills; instead, they can make them feel bored and lazy to learn (Cui, Yao, and Zhang, 2017).
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has given educators and students instant, free access to knowledge and switched the focus to active learning pedagogies, making education more engaging. Most of our schools are also now advanced and well-resourced; hence, as teachers, we should really consider basing our instructional pedagogies on 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration (Stauffer, 2021). I believe that fun classroom learning activities could naturally improve learners’ language abilities and help them become more comfortable participating. As a result, learning methods should be designed and tailored to the needs of learners.
Online teaching and learning tools such as Padlet, Kahoot, and Socrative can be very helpful when it comes to engaging learners in Northern Sotho. Padlet, a colourful, easy-to-use online collaboration tool, lets learners contribute text, images, links, documents, videos, and voice recordings (Edwards, 2022) and can enable teachers to create an online bulletin board to organize and share notes that learners then have access to on their fingertips, spending less time on textbooks that they do not even like. For example, my Grade 7 learners enjoyed recording and posting their diary entries on my Padlet. This whole exercise improved not only their speaking skills but their listening skills as well because they also had to listen to other entries to figure out what they and their peers had in common.
Learning and completing activities have also become more enjoyable for most of my learners, thanks to the free game-based learning tool that is Kahoot. They studied hard for the quizzes at the end of each lesson, and they took special care to master the new content we had covered because the top 10 always received incentives. Their participation always improved drastically after a few attempts at the quizzes. In order to measure learners’ knowledge and progress, I then used Socrative and Mentimeter to administer multiple-choice, short-answer, and true/false tests.
Furthermore, I used to create word scramble games where, when introducing a lesson of verbs in Sepedi, ‘madiri’, for example, I would scramble types of verbs like ‘iriteil’ instead of ‘leitiri’ (an action a person does on themselves), and they had to unscramble all of them in order to figure out what our lesson was about. Or I would write a full explanation of a concept, then they would have to label it on a crossword. Different games helped me to ensure that fun teaching and learning were taking place in our classroom because they have the ability to attract the learners’ attention and increase their interest, while simultaneously helping them to focus on the lesson. Incorporating all these online tools and word games aid in increasing our word knowledge and vocabulary, and the learners also enjoy using them. I have discovered that these online tools help to improve and strengthen learners’ different learning skills such as listening, writing, and even communication skills.
As 21st-century innovative educators, I think we should aim to foster learning environments in which learners are fully supported and encouraged to take ownership of their education, set their own goals, and devise strategies for success. We need to keep encouraging learners to collaborate with their peers, think critically, and solve problems. Our objective should be motivated by the realization that personalized learning must be the primary goal, and that this is accomplished when instruction, support strategies, and content respond adequately to learners’ unique needs, interests, motivations, culture, language, and background knowledge.
𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿: 𝗔𝗻𝗶𝗸𝗸𝗶𝗲 𝗠𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹𝗮
𝗟𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗿: 𝗕𝗘𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗣𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴
Cui G., Yao M., & Zhang X. (2017). The Dampening Effects of Perceived Teacher
Enthusiasm on Class-Related Boredom: The Mediating Role of Perceived Autonomy
Support and Task Value. Psychol, 8 (400), pp. 1-2.
Edwards, L. (2022). What is Padlet and How Does It Work? Tips & Tricks. 9 May 2022.
https://www.techlearning.com/how-to/what-is-padlet-and-how-does-it-work-for-teachersand-students [accessed, 10 April 2023].
Stauffer, B. (2021). What Are the 4 C’s of 21st Century Skills? 31 December 2021.
https://www.aeseducation.com/blog/four-cs-21st-century-skills [accessed, 10 April;