Contextual challenges in early literacy teaching and learning in Grade R rural schools in South Africa

Kesh Mohangi, Soezin Krog, Oluyemi Stephens, Norma Nel


Early literacy teaching and learning in Grade R rural schools experience persistent challenges which compound the low literacy rates evidenced overall in South African schools. In this article we provide an overview of challenges that teachers in selected Gauteng Grade R classrooms experience in delivering a literacy curriculum.  Three purposively selected rural schools, each comprising three Grade R classrooms served as research sites. Participants were nine teachers and three Heads of Departments (HOD). Qualitative data was gathered using semi-structured interviews with teachers and the HOD in each school. We also administered a questionnaire and conducted classroom observations to gain first-hand information. Through a process of thematic content analysis the following themes emerged: 1) pedagogical challenges 2) resources and provisioning 3) management and support. Findings illustrate the difficulties that Grade R teachers and management (HOD) experience in delivering a literacy curriculum in schools situated in rural settings. Poverty, unemployment of parents, transport challenges as well as language issues compound the problems the teachers experience in delivering the Grade R literacy curriculum. Furthermore, limited professional training of Grade R teachers has impacted on literacy delivery.

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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