Exploring strategies teachers use to develop literacy skills among English First Additional Language learners in the Foundation Phase
Keywords:Literacy skills, English first additional language, Foundation phase, Learning/teaching strategies
Teachers play a significant role in literacy development. They are responsible for using different approaches to develop literacy skills among learners whose mother tongue is not the same as the language of learning and teaching in schools. This article aims to explore strategies teachers use to develop literacy skills among English First Additional Language learners. A qualitative case study was conducted that involved focus group interviews to gain in-depth knowledge of the strategies teachers use in their classes to develop literacy skills. For this article, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development is used as a theoretical framework. The participants were six foundation phase teachers from one district in Gauteng. The data gathered showed that teachers are trying to use strategies described in the curriculum policy document. Teachers were unaware that they were using some of the most contemporary strategies in their classes such as balanced-literacy approach, play-based approach and evidence-based approach. Findings showed that teachers had good knowledge and understanding of literacy however, they were experiencing some challenges. They cited lack of support from knowledgeable others and appropriate teacher development and training. The study recommends that teachers need continuous training and development, literacy text should be contextualised and continued support from the school heads of department, curriculum advisors and subject specialist. It also recommends an in-depth knowledge, understanding and implementation of the curriculum policy.
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