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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674


RAMRATHAN, Labby  and  MZIMELA, Jabu. Teaching reading in a multi-grade class: Teachers' adaptive skills and teacher agency in teaching across grade R and grade 1. SAJCE [online]. 2016, vol.6, n.2, pp.1-8. ISSN 2223-7682.

The skill of reading is regarded as the cornerstone of literacy learning in the foundation phase. Although it is the most complex skill to master, it forms part of literacy teaching. Most learners begin schooling without having any kind of exposure to reading. This lack of exposure introduces a number of challenges, which are consequently exacerbated if teachers have to teach in multi-grade classes. This case study was conducted in two primary schools in the Ndwedwe Circuit in KwaZulu-Natal. It is framed within the interpretive epistemology embedded in a qualitative research methodology. Empirical data were generated from two rural schools where multi-grade teaching was undertaken. To produce data, two teachers teaching multi-grade classes (incorporating both grade R and grade 1) were observed during an isiZulu Home Language reading period. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews were used to elicit more data for corroboration of findings. The findings show that teacher agency is crucial in making adaptive decisions. These decisions are based on the intersection of formal knowledge, situational knowledge and experiential knowledge that the teachers have acquired over time.

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