Investigating teaching and learning within three Eastern Cape reception year classrooms

Mnene, Mthetheleli (2011) Investigating teaching and learning within three Eastern Cape reception year classrooms. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which young children in three Grade R classes in the Eastern Cape Province were exposed to developmentally appropriate opportunities to achieve the Critical Outcomes as outlined in the South African National Curriculum Statement. The research took the form of a case study. Semi-structured interviews and observations were used to collect data. Respondents included children, their parents, Grade R practitioners and the school leadership. The findings tentatively showed that this set of parents perceived their role in providing for their children’s developmental needs as separate to that of the GR practitioners. They seemed to see their roles as helping their children to develop social and emotional competence only, and that the GR practitioners provided, in addition to this, literacy and numeracy teaching to their children. In contrast, the three GR practitioners believed that parents were responsible also for promoting literacy, numeracy and life skills. There seemed therefore to be a lack of clarity of specific teacher and parent views of their roles. The researcher found, however, that the children seemed to be given few developmentally appropriate opportunities for planned and structured activities which enabled them to explore the Critical Outcomes, for example, working together, solving problems, using technology. The teaching methodology used by the GR practitioners during the observation periods, seemed to a large extent, to be based in 'talk and chalk' in the plenary grouping. It did not seem to enable the implementation of the curriculum and especially of the Critical Outcomes in a developmentally appropriate way. In addition, the environment in which children learned was not observed to be developmentally appropriate for relevant education to take place. Too many children were crowded into the available space, while learning equipment and materials were lacking. Any competences that young children in these three GR programmes achieved were therefore possibly learned incidentally, rather than deliberately through planned activities. In addition, GR classes in this study were not observed to be supported within the schools to deliver competent curriculum activities to the children. The study makes suggestions to meet some of these challenges. These include improving the understanding of curriculum guidelines of all role players in the three schools, enabling the management teams and especially parents to take a stronger support and monitoring role, and providing and using materials and equipment to promote the use of the Critical Out comes as methods for teaching and for learning.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Competency-based elementary education, South Africa, Eastern Cape, Critical outcomes, Curriculum evaluation, Parent participation
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Euvrard, George and Irvine, Margaret
ID Code:2927
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:04 Jun 2012 06:36
Last Modified:04 Jun 2012 06:36
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