Original Research

Teachers’ perceptions of reading instruction in selected primary schools in the Eastern Cape

Madoda Cekiso
Reading & Writing | Vol 8, No 1 | a158 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v8i1.158 | © 2017 Madoda Cekiso | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 February 2017 | Published: 17 November 2017


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Abstract

Background: There is a general outcry that too many South African Foundation Phase (Grades 1–3) teachers do not know how to teach reading and are currently teaching reading in an ad hoc, unsystematic way.

Objectives: In response to this, this study explored the Foundation Phase teachers’ perceptions of their role in teaching reading. The focus was on the relevance of the initial training, awareness of reading strategies and how these strategies were reflected in their classroom practice.

Method: The study was qualitative in nature and a case study design was followed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine teachers who were purposively selected from three public schools. Content analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results: Regarding the initial training programme, teachers received at tertiary institutions, the findings of the study showed that the majority of teachers were not adequately prepared to teach reading and to deal with learners who experience problems in reading. Some teachers indicated that they were not even trained to teach in the Foundation Phase. The findings also showed that the majority of respondents doubted if their classroom practice would yield positive results as far as reading instruction is concerned. The findings further indicated that the majority of respondents only paid attention to oral reading (observing punctuation marks and pronunciation), without attending to reading comprehension. There was a general consensus that the new ways of teaching reading were necessary in order to improve the reading ability of learners.

Conclusion: Recommendations based on the findings are that institutions of higher learning that train Foundation Phase teachers should do so in ways that adequately equip them to produce student teachers who are knowledgeable about research and theory regarding how individuals learn to read. Workshops on appropriate instruction of reading strategies are recommended for in-service teachers.


Keywords

Reading strategy; Academic achievement; Teacher development; Strategy instruction; Quality teacher; Interactional characteristics

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