Exploring teachers’ instructional practices in literacy in English in Grade One: a case study of two urban primary schools in the Shiselweni Region of Swaziland.
Dlamini, Patience Samkelisiwe.
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Exploring teachers’ instructional practices in literacy in English in Grade One: a case study of two urban primary schools in the Shiselweni Region of Swaziland This research study sought to explore teachers’ instructional practices in literacy in English in Grade One. The main focus of the study was to establish what instructional practices teachers used in their literacy lessons in classrooms, why they used those instructional practices, and how they experienced the teaching of literacy in English in Grade One. The study was based on the premise that literacy was a social practice that was essential for life-long learning, therefore mastering sound literacy practices at the foundation phase was critical for learning and social wellbeing. Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory was used as a lens to understand teachers’ instructional practices in teaching Grade One literacy in their English classes. This research was a case study of two urban primary schools in the Shiselweni region of Swaziland, and it followed a qualitative approach. Three teachers from two urban schools were purposively sampled and were main participants in the study. The study utilised semistructured interviews, classroom observations, focus group discussions with teachers who had experience of teaching literacy in English in Grade One, and documents analysis for data collection. Data were analysed thematically using content analysis. The findings of the study showed that teachers’ instructional practices reflected their lack of pedagogical knowledge for teaching literacy in English in the foundation phase. The study also found that the challenges teachers experienced in the schools were mainly their rationale for the instructional practices; lack of pedagogical knowledge; lack of appropriate teaching materials for foundation phase learners; lack of early childhood education and lack of support for learners at home, and cultural and linguistic diversity of the learners. The study further showed that teacher resilience is important for teachers to thrive under trying school conditions; developing a positive attitude towards literacy teaching enabled teachers to develop strategies to improve literacy teaching and learning. The study recommends that government pay more attention to improving foundation phase education by posting qualified foundation phase teachers, and also to provide appropriate teaching-learning materials for effective literacy instruction.