Original Research

Exploring teachers’ instructional practices for literacy in English in Grade 1: A case study of two urban primary schools in the Shiselweni region of Eswatini (Swaziland)

Patience Dlamini, Ayub Sheik
Reading & Writing | Vol 10, No 1 | a229 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v10i1.229 | © 2019 Patience Dlamini, Ayub Sheik | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2019 | Published: 17 October 2019

About the author(s)

Patience Dlamini, Department of Instructional Design and Development, Institute of Distance Education, University of Eswatini, Manzini, Eswatini
Ayub Sheik, Department of Language Education, Faculty of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Literacy education in the foundation phase is a global concern. Studies have shown that mastering literacy in the first three years of school ensured academic success and lack of it had negative effects academically, socially and economically. This research study sought to explore teachers’ instructional practices for literacy in English in Grade 1 in the Shiselweni region of Eswatini.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to establish what instructional practices teachers used in their literacy classrooms, why they used those instructional practices, and how they experienced the teaching of literacy in English in Grade 1.

Method: A qualitative case study design was followed where three teachers from two urban schools were purposively sampled and participated in semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. Focus group discussions with teachers who had experience teaching literacy in English in Grade 1 in each school were conducted, and document analysis was done. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory was used as a lens to understand teachers’ instructional practices in literacy.

Results: Data were analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings of the study showed that teachers’ instructional practices reflected their lack of pedagogical knowledge for teaching literacy in English in the foundation phase. The study also found that the teachers’ experiences were their rationale for their instructional practices.

Conclusion: The study showed that teacher resilience was important for teachers to thrive under trying school conditions; developing a positive attitude towards literacy teaching enabled teachers to develop strategies to improve literacy teaching and learning.


English education; literacy; knowledge; primary schools; Swaziland; Eswatini.


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