Original Research

Arts across the curriculum as a pedagogic ally for primary school teachers

Eurika N. Jansen van Vuuren
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 1 | a477 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i1.477 | © 2018 Eurika N. Jansen van Vuuren | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 July 2016 | Published: 28 March 2018

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Eurika N. Jansen van Vuuren, Department of Childhood Education, University of Johannesburg South Africa and Department of Childhood Education, University of Mpumalanga, South Africa

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The arts as a pedagogic medium can be an important tool for language learning, and yet many teachers avoid it, often because of a lack of confidence. The main purpose of this study was to explore the possibility of generalist educators, as opposed to art specialists, using the arts successfully as a cross-curricular tool to accelerate English First Additional Language acquisition. Most South African learners speak African languages as a mother tongue, yet they are taught in English from Grade 4 onwards. With the use of an action research project, learners’ English proficiency was assessed with a custom-designed tool and, thereafter, they participated in 10 weekly sessions of arts-integrated English activities before being re-assessed. Positive results confirmed that generalist educators are able to utilise arts, and it showed the urgency for more focused arts-integrated educational training in generalist educator courses at South African universities. Although the research was limited in scope, it raises the question of how teachers for the primary school are educated with regard to learning a language with the use of the arts.


generalist educators; English First Additional Language; arts


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