Die invloed van 'n konseptuele stimuleringsprogram op graad 1-leerders
Van Rensburg, Johanna Margaretha Janse
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School and learning readiness are continually being placed under the spotlight in an attempt to protect the grade 1 learner from possible learning failures, since unsuccessful learning experiences have negative effects even on a person's adult life. A factor that plays a significant role in the current teaching situation in the RSA is the fact that many grade 1 leamers are not instructed in their mother tongue and that they are not familiar with the concepts which are used in the language of learning and teaching. Another important factor is the fact that since 2004 learners may enrol as grade 1 learners at primary schools if they are five and a half years old and did not attend a grade R class. In this study the problems experienced by grade 1 leamers in primary schools since the implementation of Outcomes-based Education in the RSA in 1998, were determined by means of a pilot study. It was followed up by a literature study on the brain and factors that influence the working of the brain among young learners, as well as learning and factors that cannot only promote learning among this age group, but also disadvantage it. The literature was also consulted to look at stimulation of the child's development in the early development stage (0-9 years). As cross control for the study, the influence of the implementation of the RNCS was determined by means of a Likert-type questionnaire that was sent to grade1 teachers. As a result of factors that were identified from the above-named literature study and from the information acquired from the pilot project and Likert-type questionnaire, a conceptual stimulation programme for multicultural grade 1 classes was developed to provide in the shortcomings that currently occur among grade 1 learners. The Aptitude Test for School beginners (ASB), a standarised school readiness test of the HSRC, was used as a measuring instrument to acquire a differentiated image in a scientific way of the grade 1 learners (n = 39) for the purpose of this study. Thereafter, the learners were divided into an experimental and a control group. The conceptual stimulation programme was presented to the experimental group for ten consecutive weeks. The AS6 test was then conducted again with all the grade 1 learners involved. Both the first and final tests were marked according to the prescribed marking keys, interpreted according to the norm tables and statistically processed. The pre and post test scores of the two groups were compared and the experimental group improved in all 8 sections of the test battery, namely perception, spatial, reasoning, numerical, Gestalt, co-ordination , memory and verbal comprehension. In each of these categories there was an increase of d = 0.5 and more which according to Cohen's d-values, can be regarded as practically meaningful. The above-mentioned results indicate that the effective presentation of a conceptual stimulation programme to a group of multicultural grade 1 learners provides positive results and that the didactical methods used during the presentation can be recommended to grade 1 teachers in the current multicultural schools in the RSA. The programme can serve as a prototype to adress the shortcomings identified in the practise (questionnaires) and the literature study. Keywords for indexing are: stimulation programme, school-readiness, school-readiness programme, cognitive development, learning theories, conceptual learning, brain development.
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