n South African Journal of Education - Evaluating the effectiveness of a metacognitive programme for disadvantaged learners in the foundation phase

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



Learners in South Africa lag behind in literacy and numeracy skills relative to their peers in other countries. This is ascribed to a lack of quality education in the preschool and Foundation Phases of schooling, and conditions related to poverty. The Basic Concepts Mediated Learning Programme (BCMLP) aims to promote the conceptual development of young children through training teachers to be mediators in a metacognitive educational programme. The BCMLP was implemented in the Foundation Phase (Grade R to Grade 3) in two schools in impoverished areas of the Northern Cape over three years (2008-2010). Baseline testing found that children at both schools experienced significant delays in their conceptual and scholastic development. After being trained as mediators, teachers implemented this approach with groups, eventually integrating it into the curriculum. There was variable continuity of implementation at the two schools, with one school only implementing the programme for the first year. The conceptual development and scholastic functioning of learners were monitored pre-intervention to post-intervention. Results found that implementation of the programme was consistent with considerable improvements in conceptual and scholastic functioning. Further, improvements were more pronounced, where the programme was implemented continually for three years. The researcher concluded that the programme made a positive impact on participating learners' knowledge and understanding of basic conceptual systems and scholastic functioning.

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