Novice teachers' experiences of teaching literacy in the foundation phase.
South Africa has become synonymous with disparaging headlines regarding the dismal literacy performance of learners. Most reports and research on the country’s educational progress have displayed negative headlines regarding the literacy levels of the learners. The teaching of literacy has been under discussion in this country due to the low literacy levels that have been highlighted in both media and research. The results of the Annual National Assessment and the Progress in international reading literacy studies bear testimony to this. Consequently, this study focuses one aspect of teaching literacy from the perspective of novice literacy teachers. A qualitative study, located in the interpretative paradigm was used, to explore novice teachers’ experiences of teaching literacy in the foundation phase. A case study was employed, using semi-structured interviews of the experiences of teaching literacy by three novice teachers in the foundation phase at one school in Durban. The study firstly, reviewed literature on novice teachers, secondly, the teaching of literacy in the foundation phase and thirdly, presented Kolb’s experiential learning theory as the framework, which underpinned this study. The experiential learning theory documented the learning cycles of the three novice teachers by describing their feelings, their reflections, thinking, and doing. Data emerging from the findings, suggested that, given the history of South Africa, teachers in the foundation phase encounter a plethora of challenges and contextual factors that impact on their teaching of literacy. The novice teachers in this study employed teaching strategies to cope with the challenges, by engaging in a process of experiential learning. This research study, therefore advocates a need for a more sustainable development of novice teachers as intellectuals, who will be capacitated to develop strategies to cope with the literacy challenges in this country.