Original Research

Critical reading perceptions and practices of English First Additional Language learners in Gauteng, Tshwane South district

Tilla Olifant, Madoda Cekiso, Eunice Rautenbach
Reading & Writing | Vol 11, No 1 | a281 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v11i1.281 | © 2020 Tilla Olifant, Madoda Cekiso, Eunice Rautenbach | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2020 | Published: 10 September 2020

About the author(s)

Tilla Olifant, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Madoda Cekiso, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Eunice Rautenbach, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Apart from being a knowledge-gaining commodity, critical literacy is believed to be a practice that exists between people, groups and communities in a sociopolitical and cultural context. It is assumed that without strong literacy skills, post-secondary education and employment options are limited. It is thus against this background that this investigation focused on the critical reading perceptions and practices of Grade 8 English First Additional Language (FAL) learners from two high schools in Gauteng, Tshwane South district.

Objective: The study investigated Grade 8 learners’ critical reading self-perceptions and practices in the English FAL classroom.

Method: A quantitative research approach based on a non-experimental descriptive design was used. The purposively selected research sample consisted of 166 Grade 8 English FAL learners from two high schools in Gauteng, Tshwane South district. Data were collected through the use of a survey questionnaire, as well as a critical reading comprehension activity measurement and evaluation instrument. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 was used to analyse data solicited through the survey questionnaire and reading comprehension activity. Specifically, the Spearman’s correlation coefficient of variables was used to indicate if there was any relationship between the learners’ reading perceptions and their reading practices.

Results: The results showed that although learners’ self-perceptions indicated that they could critically analyse texts, the critical reading comprehension activity measurement and evaluation instrument revealed that learners were unable to apply most of the critical reading strategies they claimed to be using. Thus, learners’ perception about their critical reading ability was not automatically an accurate indicator of their actual reading practice ability.

Conclusion: The findings from this study re-emphasise the reading crisis that is prevalent within the South African reading literacy landscape. A devastating conclusion that was arrived at, was that because learners did not engage critically in classroom reading, the Grade 8 English FAL learners from the participating schools contributed to the existing reading crisis in South Africa.


Keywords

critical reading; critical reading self-perception; critical reading practices; literacy; Tshwane.

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