Original Research

Student teachers’ reflections on semiotics in Grade 3 isiXhosa literacy lessons

Pretty N. Magangxa, Deidre C. Geduld
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 13, No 1 | a1184 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v13i1.1184 | © 2023 Pretty Neliswa Magangxa, Deidre Chante Geduld | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2022 | Published: 19 May 2023

About the author(s)

Pretty N. Magangxa, Department of Education, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela University, Gqberha, South Africa, South Africa
Deidre C. Geduld, Department of Primary Schooling Foundation Phase, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela University, Gqberha, South Africa, South Africa


Background: Globally, teaching practice has been at the heart of teacher education programmes. For quality teaching and learning, literacy student teachers are expected to develop metacognitive attributes and critical thinking to integrate theory and practice. Because of the dominance of autonomous models in literacy teaching and learning nationally and internationally, literature continues to report poor literacy attainment, especially for indigenous language learners. Contrasting this deficit view, this article employed languaging as a lens to describe student teachers’ reflections on their interactions with Grade 3 learners using multimodal and linguistic repertoires, which they both bring from socio-cultural contexts as well as utilisation of embodied representational modes.

Aim: To explore how Foundation Phase (FP) student teachers used languaging and semiotic modes to enhance literacy teaching and learning in Grade 3 classrooms.

Setting: An Eastern Cape Institution of Higher Education.

Methods: In this qualitative study, four purposely selected FP isiXhosa Home Language student teachers used reflective journals to articulate their individual and peer classroom literacy practices. Data were thematically analysed.

Results: Findings revealed the importance of acknowledging authentic and diverse linguistic resources that learners bring from their socio-cultural backgrounds as well as the use of multimodal literacies in the classroom context.

Conclusion: This study concludes that languaging allowed learners and student teachers to exploit multimodalities and linguistic repertoires that they bring from their socio-cultural backgrounds.

Contribution: This study demonstrates the pedagogical literacy strategies that created live dialogical engagements between student teachers and learners. These can be useful to teacher educators as well as teachers in the Foundation Phase contexts and thus improve literacy teaching and learning, especially in indigenous languages.


semiotic modes; literacy; student teachers; Grade 3; reflection; languaging.


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