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Teaching English home language comprehension skills to foundation phase learners from diverse language backgrounds.

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2021

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Abstract

Teaching English as a Home Language (HL) could be a complicated process in a country like South Africa, where there are eleven official languages operating in a multicultural society. This study examined the teaching of English HL comprehension skills to Foundation phase learners from diverse language backgrounds. Rumelhart’s schema theory was used as the theoretical framework and lens to view teachers’ strategies in teaching Grade One comprehension skills in English HL to learners from diverse language backgrounds in classes. The schema theory was supported by Vygotsky’s theory of learning. The study locale was one urban primary school in the King Cetshwayo District, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa – conducted within the aegis of the qualitative research paradigm, undergirded by interpretivism. Four teachers from the selected school were purposively selected to participate in the study and several data collection instruments and approaches were used. The findings showed that the teaching of English HL comprehensions skills to learners from a diverse language backgrounds lacked the appropriate strategies and also that the challenges the teachers faced in teaching the subject at the school included (a) the lack of policy clarity, (b) the paucity of strategies in phonological awareness, (c) the lack of appropriate reflection images to which the learners could be exposed in order to improve their skills, (d) the lack of effective strategies to guide Foundation Phase learners respond to questions in class, and (e) the lack of parental involvement and support for learners at home. The study also developed and proposed a model based on Vygotsky’s theory of learning, to enhance the teaching and learning of English Home Language comprehension skills to learners from diverse language backgrounds. The study ends with several recommendations arising from the findings of the study.

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Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

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