Nurturing learners' flair for written communication : a teacher's self study.
The focus of my self-study research was on the development of a flair for English written communication among my isiZulu-speaking grade six learners. The aim of conducting this study was to improve my teaching practice to enhance learners’ English written communication. My methodological approach was self-study of educational practice. I used two main self-study methods to generate data for my study: memory-work self-study and developmental portfolio self-study. I used the memory-work self-study method to recall lived experiences that were relevant to developing a flair for communication in my own life history. I used memory drawing, artefact retrieval and personal narrative writing to generate memory stories about these communicative experiences. I composed interpretive poems to explore implications of my memory stories for teaching and learning of written communication. I used the developmental portfolio self-study method to keep evidence of my practice in teaching written communication, including: my teachers’ file; lesson plans; my reflective journal; and grade 6 learners’ written work, together with their journal entries. I identified six issues from my memory stories and interpretive poems that have influenced my learning and teaching of written communication. These are: (a) parental involvement; (b) emotions and relationships; (c) cultural practices; (d) changing technology; (e) creative expression; and (f) writing as a process. I took into consideration the extent to which I had been paying attention to these six issues in my teaching and the implications they might have for my future teaching practice, particularly in relation to written communication. Using a self-study approach motivated and empowered me to make some changes personally and to improve the way I teach. I came to understand that the development of flair for written communication demands support from all significant stakeholders in learners’ education. Another important lesson that I drew from this study is that creativity should form an integral part of the teaching and learning process of written communication. My key learning is that written communication can be nurtured by dedicated teachers who wish to see their learners succeed in all spheres of life. As a teacher, I should offer a welcoming and encouraging classroom environment. I should present learners with opportunities that allow for creative exploration of ideas, accommodating mistakes and mutual respect for both parties involved in the teaching and learning of written communication.