Identification of spelling difficulties of the first additional language of grade three learners with Tswana as medium of instruction
Fryer, Martha Maria
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The intention of education in South Africa is that all learners should benefit in a new, inclusive education system. Inclusive education provides a single, integrated system which is able to recognise and respond to the diverse needs of the learner population, irrespective of the learning context. The most influential factor that caused the educational change was the introduction of Outcomes-based Education (OBE) in South Africa. Whilst inclusive education was a radical departure from previous apartheid and special education practices in South Africa, the implementation of OBE required a revolution in thinking about education. In fact, it is OBE that will allow inclusive education to succeed since OBE is inclusive in nature. The most important features of OBE are that, it establishes the conditions and opportunities, within the system, that enable and encourage all learners to achieve those essential outcomes like: 1. All learners can succeed but not necessarily on the same day. 2. Successful learning can result in more successful learning experiences. 3. Schools can create the space and possibilities for success. 4. Educators expect all learners to perform optimally". The majority of learners in South Africa who experience barriers to learning were already being taught in the mainstream since there was limited special provision for them. The state, in any case, has limited financial resources for separate special education, which implied that the national education system in South Africa at some time or other would have to deal with diversity. Moreover, the scrapping of apartheid legislation saw the rapid diversification of formerly linguistically homogenous schools. One of the most dramatic but unplanned consequences of the political changes that took place after the general election in 1994 as far as the education sector was concerned, was the sudden inflow of African language speakers into schools that had previously been open only to learners classified as White or Coloured. In addition to this movement of African learners, there also has been a steady flow of Coloured and Indian learners to schools from which they were previously excluded. The rapid changes in the linguistic profile of schools are, however, not accompanied by changes in the teaching staff. This has meant that in many classes the teachers may not be able to speak the language of a significant number of their learners. This is particularly problematic in the Foundation Phase, because where the teacher and the learners do not speak the same language, the communication between teacher and learners will be stunted. This may also result in discipline and control problems arising from the communication breakdown between teachers and learners who speak different languages. The main objective of this empirical research is then to determine whether educators are able to identify learning difficulties experienced by learners in a first additional language in the Foundation Phase in Grade 3. The main conclusion from the research was that the educators are unsure of the conceptual fields in which they work, and require specified guidance concerning the appropriate content and task standards they are supposed to teach and assess in. Educators are not equipped with the knowledge and skills to identify and support learners with spelling / learning difficulties in first additional language. Therefore, it is recommended that the Department should consider regular in-service training where the educator will be taught how to support learners with barriers to learning and to focus on intervention strategies.
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