Original Research - Special Collection: Early Childhood Development in Theory and Practice

Play-based pedagogy for oral communication in early grade and preschool classrooms

Martin C. Ekeh, Roy Venketsamy, Nkhensani S. Thuketana, Ina Joubert
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 12, No 1 | a981 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v12i1.981 | © 2022 Martin C. Ekeh, Roy Venketsamy, Nkhensani S. Thuketana, Ina Joubert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 January 2021 | Published: 06 September 2022

About the author(s)

Martin C. Ekeh, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Roy Venketsamy, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Nkhensani S. Thuketana, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Ina Joubert, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, SANTS Private Higher Education Institution, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Teachers are responsible for developing and enhancing communication skills amongst young learners. Unfortunately, the overly structured pedagogy which many teachers adopt inhibits the optimal development of oral communication skills. Hence, the researchers investigated ways of strengthening group-work play-based pedagogy to stimulate oral communication.

Aim: This research aimed to find out (1) what prior knowledge, skills and classroom practice teachers have and how they demonstrate their competence in implementing group play-based pedagogy; and (2) how a professional development programme assists teachers to implement play-based group pedagogy to develop oral communication skills in young learners.

Setting: The study took place in the Owerri Education Zone in the eastern part of Nigeria.

Methods: The researchers implemented a participatory action research (PAR) design. Nine participants were purposively selected from a cohort of teachers who taught the 5–9-year age group. Teacher participants responded to the semistructured interviews and observational schedules used as tools for data collection. The researchers used inductive thematic data analysis techniques to make sense of the data. This was performed in three phases: sorting the data and organising them in data sets, after which the analysis process commenced.

Results: Findings from the study showed that although the participants had a fair understanding of play-based pedagogy, they did not know how to operationalise their understanding of play-based pedagogy directed at oral communication

Conclusion: The participants gained expert knowledge of play pedagogies that require children to increase oral language use in interaction with each other, using vocabulary and phrases introduced by the teacher as scaffolding for their communication.


Keywords

group work; play-based pedagogy; core skills; young learners; professional development programme; communication

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