Original Research

Writing approaches and strategies used by teachers in selected South African English First Additional Language classrooms

Nomalungelo I. Ngubane, Berrington Ntombela, Samantha Govender
Reading & Writing | Vol 11, No 1 | a261 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v11i1.261 | © 2020 Nomalungelo I. Ngubane, Berrington Ntombela, Samantha Govender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 August 2019 | Published: 18 June 2020

About the author(s)

Nomalungelo I. Ngubane, Department of Languages and Media, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Berrington Ntombela, Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Zululand, Empangeni, South Africa
Samantha Govender, Department of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Zululand, Empangeni, South Africa


Background: The teaching of writing in English First Additional Language (EFAL) classrooms remains less explored in the Further Education and Training Phase (FET) in South Africa. This is so despite research showing a decline in the writing skills of second language learners, especially at the FET phase, calling attention to how writing is taught.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate writing approaches and teaching strategies used by teachers in teaching writing in selected EFAL FET classrooms in the Pinetown district.

Method: A qualitative approach was adopted to observe five writing lessons across five schools using a video camera. Discourse analysis was used to analyse data.

Results: The findings indicate that teachers mostly used a process approach to writing, which is in line with their curriculum. The study also found that teachers generally used a question and answer method to teach writing, which entails teachers controlling the interactions in the classrooms through a nomination-response cycle. Analyses of lessons also suggest that teachers creatively employed code-switching to explain writing concepts better.

Conclusion: The study concludes that the effectiveness of any pedagogy depends on the teachers’ knowledge and understanding of writing and approaches to writing. For effective development of learners’ writing, the study recommends instruction methods that embrace collaborative writing activities in the learners’ Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and the recognition of learners’ home languages.


narrative essay; English First Additional Language; discourse analysis; code-switching; collaborative learning; Zone of Proximal Development.


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Crossref Citations

1. Using Self-Directed learning to mitigate the Post-Covid-19 Pedagogical needs of Rural English First Additional Language Learners
Mosebetsi Mokoena
E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences  first page: 184  year: 2022  
doi: 10.38159/ehass.2022SP31115