n Journal of Educational Studies - Facilitating the development of reading skills at the foundation phase for creating sustainable learning environments




The reading performance of South African learners was portrayed as one of the poorest in the world by the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) Report of 2006 (Mullis, Martin, Kennedy & Foy, 2007). The fact that Sesotho speaking learners performed the worst in the Systemic Evaluations of 2003 and 2007 (Challis, 2007; Department of Education, 2003) concerned us gravely as Sesotho speakers and teachers. We therefore undertook an in-depth situation analysis in some schools in Mangaung in the Motheo District of the Free State Province, in South Africa. The aim was to determine how the Foundation Phase Grade 1 teachers were managing to facilitate the development of reading skills in Sesotho under their current deficient-resource circumstances. Lesson observations and interviews were done. Thirteen Grade 1 teachers from six purposively selected primary schools participated voluntarily in the in-depth situation analysis. Seven of those teachers from two schools participated as co-researchers in the action research. While following their self-formulated facilitation guidelines during their facilitation they were observed and evaluated by their peers and researchers. Data analysis revealed varying categories and themes regarding their roles in facilitation. Some depicted great challenges facing the facilitators, while others bestowed hope for improvement in their facilitation. Our critical reflection on the whole study made us appreciate the power of teacher-involvement in action research during facilitation. This proved effective in creating sustainable learning environments.


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