Original Research

How a professional development programme changes early grades teachers’ literacy pedagogy

Faith K. Kimathi, Carol A. Bertram
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 9, No 1 | a554 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.554 | © 2019 Faith K. Kimathi, Carol A. Bertram | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 June 2017 | Published: 30 April 2019

About the author(s)

Faith K. Kimathi, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Carol A. Bertram, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Research on teacher professional learning which supports teaching of reading and writing at the foundation phase (FP) is limited in developing countries, including South Africa.

Aim: This article examines the ways in which three Foundation Phase teachers changed their practice during 18 months of learning from a formal university programme, the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT).

Setting: The ACT was offered by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Methods: The principles of teaching English as a First Additional Language (EFAL) were used as an instrument for describing change in practice. Using nine principles of teaching EFAL, derived from the ACT literacy learning guide as indicators, six video-recorded lessons (per teacher) were analysed and corroborated with interviews and field notes.

Results: The findings indicate a shift in teachers’ practice in diverse ways. Two of the three teachers completed the programme having developed a deeper understanding of the natural approaches of acquiring EFAL according to Krashen’s model. However, the third teacher did not change her practice.

Conclusion: We argue that the findings support the research claim that teacher learning is influenced not only by the nature of the professional development activity but also by teachers’ personal motivation to learn, and the school context in which they teach.


Keywords

teacher learning; literacy practice; teacher change; foundation phase; South Africa

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