Using clickers in an isiXhosa Communication Course: A case study on implementation of Interactive Student Response Systems (clickers) for learning isiXhosa as an Additional Language in Higher Education clinical settings

Master Thesis

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In multilingual countries, proficiency in more than one language can benefit individuals and society. For this reason, many universities, especially those with medical faculties, promote the learning of additional languages. Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (SUFMHS) offers an isiXhosa Clinical Communication (XCC) course as part of some undergraduate courses. This study explores the use of clickers, a student response system (SRS). The study aims to answer the following research questions: How do students engage with the Student Response System (clickers) in an isiXhosa Clinical Communication course in Higher Education settings? This core question is followed by this subsidiary research question: To what extent can the use of clickers enhance students' clinical communicative competence in isiXhosa as a second additional language? The participants were 51 female first year Occupational Therapy (OT) students. They answered multiple choice questions (MCQs) using their mobile phones as clickers as a formative assessment procedure. The researcher observed the students from the moment they started answering the MCQs until the post-test classroom discussions had ended. The students' MCQ responses were polled and then displayed in the form of histograms. Additional data were collected by means of a post-intervention questionnaire, from focus group discussions and with informal staff interviews. The immediate feedback seemed to enhance content consolidation, student self-assessment and constructive peer comparison. For these reasons the study found that the use of clickers could enhance student-lecturer and student-student engagement. An important additional finding is that the use of students' personal mobile devices, rather than commercial clickers, contributed to the success of the intervention. It does seem though that, in order to be used maximally, clickers should be incorporated in the teaching pedagogy from the onset, rather than being primarily utilised as a resource to enhance teaching interventions.