Original Research

The story of a narrative: Teaching and assessing English writing in a township school

Caroline Akinyeye, Peter Plüddemann
Reading & Writing | Vol 7, No 1 | a88 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i1.88 | © 2016 Caroline Akinyeye, Peter Plüddemann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2015 | Published: 05 May 2016

About the author(s)

Caroline Akinyeye, Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Peter Plüddemann, Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


The new language curriculum in South Africa recommends that extended writing be taught through a combination of text-based (or genre) and process approaches. This article reports on a study of the teaching and assessment of narrative writing in English as a first additional language (FAL) at a time of curriculum change. The setting is a Cape Flats township school. In focusing on a story written by a Grade 9 learner and assessed by her teacher, the study sought evidence of the use of text-based and process approaches. The theoretical frame is informed by genre theory, which draws on Systemic Functional Linguistics and social constructivist approaches to language learning. A qualitative research paradigm was used. Data obtained for this case study included the learner’s writing, interviews with the teacher, and classroom observation. The study finds very little evidence of a scaffolded approach to the teaching and assessment of writing, and explores the constraints on the realisation of the curriculum cycle in English FAL. These relate to the teacher’s understanding of writing as well as to material conditions in township schools.


curriculum cycle; narrative; English; genre; assessment; writing process; text-based approach


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