Original Research

Experiences in a tutoring programme for BEd Foundation Phase isiXhosa first-language students

Anneline J. Carnow, Andries Steenkamp, Christélle Ekron
Reading & Writing | Vol 11, No 1 | a259 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v11i1.259 | © 2020 Anneline J. Carnow, Andries Steenkamp, Christélle Ekron | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 August 2019 | Published: 27 October 2020

About the author(s)

Anneline J. Carnow, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Andries Steenkamp, Department of Senior Phase & Further Education and Training, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Christélle Ekron, Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: IsiXhosa students enrolled for the BEd Foundation Phase qualification at a university in South Africa failed their first year in identified at-risk subjects, namely Mathematics in Education, Language in Education and Computer Literacy. The students stated the reasons for failure as not understanding the concepts and terms of the subjects presented to them in English.

Objectives: A tutoring programme was initiated in the home language of the students with the aim of improving their understanding and chances at success.

Method: Semi-structured interviews and reflective journals within a qualitative case study were used to understand how the tutees and tutors as key role players, the programme coordinator, lecturers in the three subjects and the tutor trainer experienced the tutoring programme. The study was framed within social constructivist theory and an interpretative paradigm employed for analysis of data.

Results: The findings suggested that tutoring in their home language grants isiXhosa students an improved understanding of the concepts and terms of the course material, which they had difficulty understanding.

Conclusion: Tutoring in the home language should become a mandatory practice for students whose home language is not the language of learning and teaching in the institution. The study contributes to knowledge on how tutoring in the home language provides isiXhosa students access to the curriculum by assisting them in minimising their struggles with English as the language of learning and teaching.


Keywords

tutoring; tutors; tutees; higher education; language of learning and teaching; under-preparedness.

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