Original Research

Teaching of writing in two rural multigrade classes in the Western Cape

Bernita Blease, Janet Condy
Reading & Writing | Vol 6, No 1 | a58 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v6i1.58 | © 2015 Bernita Blease, Janet Condy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 September 2014 | Published: 10 September 2015

About the author(s)

Bernita Blease, Faculty of Education and Social Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Janet Condy, Faculty of Education and Social Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa


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Abstract

The purpose of this research project was to understand how Cambourne’s theory of social constructivism, particularly his four instructional principles, was applied to the teaching of writing in two rural multigrade Foundation Phase classrooms in the Western Cape. Multigrade schools account for 30% of all primary schools in South Africa, but in most cases teachers are not able to provide quality education to learners. Writing in rural multigrade Foundation Phase schools is a largely neglected area for teacher development and research. Even those teaching multigrade classes are not sure how to approach it. The national curriculum, as well as our South African constitution, encourages teachers to inspire children with values based on respect, democracy, equality, human dignity and social justice. However, the two rural multigrade classes in this research project faced many challenges that hindered their ability to reach these goals. The main theoretical framework underpinning this study was based on Cambourne’s social constructivist theory, particularly his instructional principles including explicit, systematic, mindful and contextual teaching principles. This research was a qualitative study embedded within an interpretive case study. Two Foundation Phase teachers working in multigrade classrooms were purposively selected for this research. In conclusion, there is evidence that these two teachers used some of Cambourne’s instructional principles, in varying degrees, when teaching writing in their multigrade classes.

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