Exploring literacy practices : a case study of a peri-urban primary school in the Pinetown District ; KwaZulu-Natal.
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This research project specifically focused on understanding the literacy practices of three grade three educators in a peri-urban school, who are entrusted with the task of promoting and mediating literacy acquisition and development among the learners. In order to supplement the data from the educators, this study also investigated learner’s performance in literacy as well as various other aspects of the literacy environment which influenced the performance of the learners in literacy development. The selected research site was one peri-urban primary school in the Pinetown District, Phoenix Region in Kwa-Zulu Natal. This research has attempted to answer questions relevant to learners’ attitudes and experiences in the development of reading and writing practices, how educators develop reading and writing competencies at the school, what their reasons were for choosing certain approaches, how Government literacy policies were implemented in practice in the classroom and what assistance the educators received for developing literacy effectively. Within a case study approach, a mixed methods research design was used because data was collected through qualitative and quantitative methods in an interpretative paradigm. The findings revealed that while educators made use of a number of teaching methods and approaches to teach literacy in their classrooms, a socio-cultural approach to literacy was lacking. The results of this study call for a broadening of the definition of literacy, to one that acknowledges the socio-cultural background of all the learners in their care, to develop a literacy disposition that will prepare individuals adequately for a competitive and changing world. The results were also presented to highlight the gravity of other problems that educators had encountered in the sample school and in general in literacy teaching and implementation. Hopefully this project will serve as a catalyst for the sample school to review policies, amend curriculum changes and debate appropriate methods and approaches to promote effective literacy teaching and the actual implementation of reading and writing skills across the curriculum, while taking into account some of the suggestions offered in this study.