Making the CAPS fit : an exploration of the reading development strategies of three Intermediate Phase language educators in a rural KwaZulu-Natal school.
The aim of this study was to explore the reading life histories of three Intermediate Phase (IP) language educators, and how their histories influence their teaching, as part of a larger University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) reading project. Using the life history research approach, the manner in which the participants learnt to read at home before starting school, in Primary and High School and how they were trained to teach reading was examined. By observing their lessons and interviewing them, the effects that their experiences have had on their current teaching methods and their readiness to implement the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in their phase in 2013, was explored. Research has shown that the literacy levels in South Africa (SA) are reason for great concern. There seems to be an overemphasis on decoding skills with limited exposure to all aspects of comprehension in the lower grades. Thus SA learners struggle to cope as they go on to higher grades where they are expected to read for meaning and read to learn. These problems may be associated with the inadequate training and limited knowledge of teaching reading of many SA educators. Educators who participated in this study seem to define reading as primarily decoding text to speech and view comprehension as a separate entity. In addition to this they do not have a full understanding of the complexities of the comprehension process. By exploring the participants’ experiences of learning to read, their training in teaching reading, and current classroom practices, the effects of the former two were visible on the latter. This study contributes to the larger research project as the participants’ misconceptions and preconceptions created by their own mediocre schooling, substandard and outdated training and inadequate continuous development, were analysed so these could be addressed in workshops designed by the UKZN reading project team.