Senior primary school educators' experiences of teaching functional and creative writing : a case study of a school in KwaZulu-Natal.
Pillay, Vannessa Delphine.
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The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has stated that “the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results for 2011 are an indication that the education sector needs to focus even more on its core functions of quality learning and teaching”. ANA is the standardized national assessments for Languages and Mathematics in the intermediate phase (Grades 4-6) and in Literacy and Numeracy for the foundation phase (Grades One to Three). The Grade Six national average in Languages was 28%. Of these grade six learners, only 30% achieved above 35%. The Minister attributed these results to “an under-emphasis on the development of the basic skills for reading and writing”. In the school studied in this dissertation, the average percentage achievement in the ANA for learners from Grade Three to Grade Six was between 18% and 23% for languages. This data revealed that learners lacked basic writing skills. This dissertation explores and describes the experiences of three educators when teaching functional and creative writing. Data was collected through in-depth interviews. The three educators teach English at the school. The school is situated in a low socio-economic area of Cato Manor, near Durban. The findings indicate the need for educators to be specialists in the field of Languages and Mathematics in order to improve experiences of teaching and learning. Secondly, lack of sufficient resources, such as lack of the workbooks introduced by the Department of Education, hinder the teaching and learning process. Sustainability of professional development and teambuilding exercises leads to effective teaching and learning. Dewey (1933) revealed that reflection on experience leads to learning. Whole school reflective practice will improve experiences of the teaching and learning of creative and functional writing. There is a close link between challenges and experiences. The researcher in this study is working from the perspective that all teachers have positive and negative experiences. On the other hand not all teachers face challenges when teaching functional and creative writing.