A collaborative approach to enhance the teaching of English phonemic awareness in the Foundation Phase
Learners’ reading skills in the Foundation Phase are often poor and South African teachers lack the training, knowledge, and skills to assist learners in this regard. One way to address poor reading skills is to enhance the teaching of phonemic awareness in the Foundation Phase. This study investigated how a collaborative approach can enhance the teaching of English phonemic awareness of Foundation Phase teachers. A group of Foundation Phase teachers formed a professional learning community that engaged in participatory action research. The simple view of reading and the reading rope model was the theoretical underpinnings of this study. The members of the professional learning community generated data collaboratively by constructing a fishbone diagram, collages and taking part in reflective discussions via WhatsApp to answer the secondary research questions. Thematic content analysis was utilised to analyse the data and attain results that are trustworthy (i.e., credible, transferable, dependable, and confirmable). The results indicated that Foundation Phase teachers required sufficient knowledge to enhance the teaching of English phonemic awareness as well as effective support and materials to enhance their learners’ phonemic awareness in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Furthermore, teachers are required to prepare for classroom activities and collaborate on challenges related to the teaching of phonemic awareness for learners. Phonemic awareness activities that were appropriate for the specific needs of learners in diverse and multilingual classrooms, were identified.