Original Research

Music education in the Grade R classroom: How three teachers learned in a participatory action inquiry

Aletta Delport, Erna Cloete
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 5, No 1 | a351 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i1.351 | © 2015 Aletta Delport, Erna Cloete | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2015 | Published: 04 September 2015

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Aletta Delport, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Erna Cloete, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

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The contribution of music education to the holistic development of the young learner is uncontested. However, in South Africa, the vast majority of Reception Year (Grade R) teachers do not have the required competences to teach music in ways that optimally enhance the holistic growth of their learners, as this aspect has been largely neglected during their pre-service and in-service training. In this paper, we report on a year-long intervention aimed at enabling three Grade R non-music specialist teachers at one urban township school in the Eastern Cape to create music-based learning opportunities for their learners. We employed a participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) approach to the inquiry, which combines research with development. Our findings indicate that after a series of collaborative interactions, the participants started to explore and tap into their own musical competences. They revisited notions of the self as (ill-)equipped, (un)confident, (in)competent and (in)dependent music teachers, and began to assume autonomy and agency with regard to effective music education in the Grade R classroom. We consequently argue that under-qualified in-service teachers can be enabled to improve their practice through research interventions that stimulate maximum participant involvement, such as PALAR.


Grade R, music education, non-music specialist teacher, continuing professional development, participatory action learning and action research


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