Repository logo

Exploring Grade 3 teachers’ writing instructional practices in response to the Department of Basic Education programmes.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Writing remains central to effective learning, and it is through writing that learners can express their ideas and thoughts in different subjects across the curriculum. Competency in writing is therefore crucial for learners, especially by Grade 3, which is the end of the Foundation Phase. Despite this, writing continues to be a challenge for the majority of learners in South Africa, especially those writing in English as a first additional language. This dissertation argues that it is both necessary and possible to teach Grade 3 learners English writing skills irrespective of the curriculum adopted by the Department of Basic Education, Minister of Basic Education, or the context of the school. To be effective teachers of writing, all teachers have to know the different approaches for teaching writing so that whenever the curriculum changes, they will be able to identify the approaches underpinning the new curriculum and be the agents of change in their classroom practice. A mixed-method approach, mixing quantitative approach and generic qualitative inquiry approach was used to explore Grade 3 teachers' writing instructional practices and how they responded to the Department of Basic Education’s programmes, namely Jika iMfundo and the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme. Data was collected using a survey, which was distributed via the WhatsApp social messaging platform to 50 teachers in the uMgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Telephonic interviews were conducted with six Grade 3 teachers. Document analysis of the Jika iMfundo teacher toolkit and the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme lesson plans was done to understand the writing approaches underpinning these two programmes. Findings from this study indicated that teachers use a range of methodologies from Jika iMfundo, the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme and Reading to Learn when teaching writing. Before the introduction of the Department of Basic Education’s programmes, most teachers in the sample experienced challenges teaching writing because their teacher training did not prepare them for the teaching of writing. Learners lack English vocabulary to use when writing and this was found to be due to most teachers teaching English in isiZulu, thus depriving learners of exposure to English instructions. The study also found that the product approach underpins Jika iMfundo while the process approach underpins the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme. The study found that all teachers in the sample adapted the curriculum programmes in various ways, to suit the needs of their learners. The study concludes by providing recommendations which could be useful to stakeholders concerned about the state of affairs in the education system: the teachers, the Department of Basic Education and Non-Governmental Organisations. There is an urgent need for teachers to be trained in the various approaches for teaching writing. The teaching of writing depends on teachers’ understanding of the pedagogical underpinnings of the curriculum and the approaches for teaching writing. The researcher advises teachers of the English language to use English instructions in their classroom interactions and to expose learners to reading activities which will help learners to develop English vocabulary.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.