Teachers' knowledge and practices of teaching and integrating language structures and conventions in the intermediate phase : isiZulu home language CAPS curriculum.
Mngomezulu, Frederick Fairbridge Muziwakhe.
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This dissertation is concerned with the teaching of Language Structures and Conventions (LS & C). It was undertaken in the current context of curriculum change and innovation from the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). The purpose of the study was to investigate how Intermediate Phase (IP), isiZulu Home Language educators integrate LS & C with other language skills during the implementation of CAPS. Three research questions that guided the study were concerned with how teachers teach LS & C, how teachers understand LS & C and what their knowledge base of the theory and practice of teaching LS & C is, in the context of teaching the main language skills. Challenges of teaching LS & C were also considered. In the languages curriculum, CAPS brought about various changes and the shift from six learning outcomes to four language skills being the prominent ones. According to CAPS Language Use, one of the six learning outcomes in NCS was to be integrated in the teaching of four main language skills. Three isiZulu Home Language educators from Intermediate Phase (IP) were purposively sampled from one cluster in the UMgungundlovu district of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education. In a qualitative study, participants were interviewed and observed while teaching LS & C in isiZulu lessons. Lesson observations were conducted to determine the extent to which they integrated LS & C into their teaching. Grossman’s framework of teacher knowledge and teacher knowledge for language teachers were used in the analysis of data collected from interviews and lesson transcripts, by looking at similarities, differences and patterns emerging from semi-structured interviews and lessons which were observed. Findings of the study revealed that the Intermediate Phase (IP) educators had a problem of integrating LS & C with other language skills. The study also revealed that isiZulu Home Language teachers had superficial content and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) which impacted negatively on the implementation of the CAPS curriculum. Evidence from the research further showed that there was a disjuncture between what teachers said during the interviews and what was observed during the actual teaching practice. Teachers indicated during the interview process that they integrated the aspects of LS & C into other language skills but it was observed that most teachers taught LS & C in isolation. This means that the IP teachers had a problem of translating policy into practice. The teachers’ problem was exacerbated by the lack of clarity of the teaching plans on how to teach LS & C. The study recommends that the isiZulu Home Languages teachers should be capacitated and supported during the CAPS curriculum implementation period.
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