Teachers' experiences of teaching first additional language reading in the foundation phase : a case study of four rural primary schools.
Exploring the teachers’ experiences of teaching first additional language (FAL) reading in the Grade three classes of the rural schools was the focus of this study. The FAL of all the schools involved in the study is English. The data was collected from the four teachers of Molweni in the Pinetown District. Phenomenology as an approach was adopted while qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews, lesson observations, field notes and documents analysis. The study is informed by the concepts that were linked to the teaching of reading in the foundation phase. FAL was introduced as the new subject for the first time from the Grade one classes of South African schools in 2011 when Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was announced as the new curriculum. It has been observed that most of the South African learners were struggling to read. This was evident in 2011 when Annual National Assessment (ANA) results were publicized by the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The results were poor and the highlighted reason for that high failure rate was the high number of learners who were struggling to read (DBE, 2011). The research study discovered many issues of concern as teachers teach learners to read. Although all the teachers in the study regarded reading as important in the foundation phase, many challenges were highlighted. Number of teachers were teaching reading without the reading books to the learners that does not get the opportunity to read when they are at home. This necessitates more reading time to make learners read in the rural schools. It was also found that teachers were using code-switching (CS) to teach FAL reading as many learners were struggling to read and to understand what they were reading. The issue of support was also another important issue that was discovered as the teachers mentioned that they were not getting enough support from the parents as well as from the DBE. It is recommended by this study that teachers should be provided with extra support that will help them to teach learners to read. More in-service training, workshops and monitoring will be much appreciated by teachers, as that was found to be lacking in the rural schools. Rural schools should also be afforded with reading books and libraries and if need be, mobile libraries should be offered to schools. Teachers are recommended to use Balanced Reading Approach (BRA) together with CS as a teaching strategy when teaching reading to the foundation phase learners of the rural schools.