Shared writing as first phase in writing instruction of Intermediate Phase Afrikaans Home Language learners

  • Maryna Mariette De Lange Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Hanlie Dippenaar Faculty of Education, CPUT, Wellington
  • Johan Anker Faculty of Education, CPUT, Wellington


Since 2012, the poor literacy levels of Intermediate Phase (IP) learners have been a concern for officials in the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Responding to the literacy crisis, the WCED has implemented the South African Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), along with various other literacy interventions, but in the West Coast District, IP learners’ writing skills remain poor. Focusing on the West Coast District, this article sheds light on the implementation of writing-instruction practices in Afrikaans classrooms, specifically ‘shared writing’, as outlined in CAPS. The article maps the theoretical and conceptual framework of the writing process. In particular, it discusses Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s ideas on social-cognitive development and scaffolding, which propose that a competent adult should interactively model the writing process to learners before practice and independent writing are attempted. Current literature in the field of writing instruction foregrounds the concepts of ‘thinking aloud’ and a ‘shared pen’, according to which the teacher and learner co-compose a text, allowing teachers to model writing strategies and learners to become competent writers. In this study, quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to describe and understand West Coast District IP Afrikaans Home Language teachers’ implementation of shared writing. Data collection consisted of quantitative and qualitative questionnaires, as well as interviews, with results converted into percentages. Subsequent data analysis disclosed the patterns, strengths and weaknesses experienced by IP Afrikaans Home Language teachers in the West Coast District, and provide valuable insights into the implementation of shared writing.

Author Biographies

Maryna Mariette De Lange, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Maryna de Lange supports Language teachers in primary schools as an Afrikaans subject adviser since 2009 in the West Coast Education District for the WCED. The main objective for the last four years was dedicated to the implementation of content and methodologies required by CAPS. Many training sessions were conducted in the Balanced Language Approach from Grades 1-9.
Hanlie Dippenaar, Faculty of Education, CPUT, Wellington
Hanlie Dippenaar is a senior lecturer in the Department of English, Faculty of Education, CPUT, Wellington. She has been working in the field of Language Teaching for the past 30 years and holds a PhD from Northwest University. Her research interests are Community Engagement, Service-learning and Language teaching. 
Johan Anker, Faculty of Education, CPUT, Wellington
Prof Johan Anker teaches Afrikaans at the CPUT. His research interests are the Afrikaans Literature and the methodology of teaching Afrikaans, including reading comprehension. He published and delivered papers at international conferences about trauma in literature, magical realism, young adult literature and the development of reading comprehension.