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Exploring Grade 10 teachers’ experiences of mother tongue reading habits: case studies of two selected high schools in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The study sought to explore Grade 10 teachers’ experiences of mother tongue reading habits. The mother tongue that is referred to in this study is IsiZulu, an African language that is predominantly spoken in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The main objectives of the study were to understand Grade 10 teachers’ experiences of reading habits in rural and urban areas, to understand Grade 10 teachers’ experiences of mother tongue reading habits in both rural and urban high schools, and to explore why teachers experience these habits among learners in Grade 10. The research adopted a qualitative research approach as it was underpinned by the need to explore aspects exploring grade 10 teachers’ experiences of mother tongue reading habits in rural area schools. The methodology was therefore designed to generate narratives (i.e., words) rather than numbers as data for analysis. The research followed a case study design in order to explore and depict a specific setting with a view to advancing teachers experiences as the curriculum planners (isiZulu) as a language. The purposive sampling method was employed and the recruitment strategy was convenient sampling. Data were generated by means of semi-structured interviews, document analysis (policies) and classroom observations. The data were analysed according to thematic coding with links to the theoretical framework. Future studies should look into how the teaching of IsiZulu mother tongue reading in high schools is taught to teachers in teacher training institutions, and the in-service training that is provided to IsiZulu Home Language high school teachers in the field. The study reveals that Grade 10 teachers’ experiences of mother tongue reading habits are not very positive. Grade 10 learners cannot read fluently in IsiZulu, which is their mother tongue. They mispronounce IsiZulu words and mix IsiZulu with English when they speak. They read well at the sentence level, instead of reading texts with ease. When they read, they use their fingers and other objects to point at words, which lowers their reading pace and detracts from the reading. Learners look down on IsiZulu and do not see it as a problem if they do not know how to read in their mother tongue. At high schools, there is a scarcity of isiZulu reading material that can interest teenagers. The study revealed that teachers do not follow any uniform method in teaching reading; their focus is on finishing the syllabus, while not having implanted the love of reading into the hearts and minds of their learners.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.