Understanding the pedagogical content knowledge of teachers in teaching isiZulu reading: a case study of two rural primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal

  • Millicent Ngema University of South Africa


Teaching reading in the Foundation Phase is a challenging issue since most South African learners struggle to read at their grade level. Learners in rural areas suffer the most as they are from disadvantaged homes that do not have sufficient resources for the promotion of a literate environment. The study aimed to understand the teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in teaching reading in isiZulu. A qualitative approach framed within an interpretive paradigm was undertaken. Seventeen Foundation Phase teachers in King Cetshwayo District, KwaZulu-Natal, participated in two focus group discussions. The data obtained from transcripts were analysed using a thematic approach. The findings revealed that teachers seemed to have misconceptions and inadequate knowledge of how to develop basic foundational reading skills. It was evident that the teachers lacked the capacity to choose appropriate strategies for teaching reading that suited the learners’ individual needs. Thus, the study recommends multisensory and multimodal approaches to teaching reading to accommodate the different learning styles of learners.


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Author Biography

Millicent Ngema, University of South Africa
Millicent Ngema is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Early Childhood Education at the University of South Africa. Her main research interests are teaching reading in African Languages and Professional Development of teachers in the Foundation phase. Email address: engemam@unisa.ac.za