Experiences of Foundation Phase teachers qualified in a dual medium programme

  • Thabile Mbhatha University of KwaZulu Natal
Keywords: Mother tongue, dual medium, literacy acquisition, emergent literacy, foundation phase


Research shows that literacy is the foundation to successful education and a key to social, economic and political freedom. In South Africa literacy education is in a crisis as depicted in several systemic evaluation test results. A qualitative study was conducted to follow up 33 IsiZulu mother tongue teachers in eight districts in KwaZulu-Natal who were qualified to teach literacy in the mother tongue through a dual medium foundation phase programme. The teachers’ experiences and viewpoints captured in information-sharing focus group sessions were analysed based on a conceptual framework of utilising children’s emergent literacy and the mother tongue for teaching early literacy acquisition. Findings reflected that although the newly qualified teachers were keen to implement mother tongue teaching in foundation phase classes, some schools did not support mother tongue instruction. Conclusions were drawn, emphasising the importance of literacy acquisition in the mother tongue, in order to establish strong foundations for learning

Author Biography

Thabile Mbhatha, University of KwaZulu Natal
Dr Thabile Mbatha is a Senior Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the School of Education. She has a PhD in Education. Her research interests are in Teacher Development Studies and teaching Literacy in the Foundation Phase.  She publishes in Language Education and Foundation Phase Literacy Studies in the mother tongue and in English as a first additional language. She serves on the South African Research Association of Early Childhood Education (SARAECE) as a committee member.Email address:  mbathath@ukzn.ac.za