Training primary school teachers for literature teaching: A view from Botswana

  • Deborah Vimbandu Sanoto Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning
  • Christa van der Walt
Keywords: Literature teaching, Pedagogical Content Know ledge, English as a second language, Boysana Primary Schools, In-service teacher training.


Primary school level is where the love for reading and understanding of literature starts, and for teachers to succeed in the teaching of reading and literature, they need to display certain habits and practices in their English as a second language (ESL) classrooms. One of the habits is reading extensively and developing a passion for reading. In this study, the impact of the in-service training of a specific group of primary school teachers in Botswana was explored by means of questionnaires and interviews. This was done to investigate the strategies employed by these teachers in terms of their content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) as they teach literature to Standards 1 to 7 ESL pupils. The results from the questionnaires and the interviews allowed us to determine the start of problems with literature teaching. The questionnaire data gave an overview of the reading culture that prevailed in this case, and the interviews made it possible to enhance the picture provided in the questionnaires. This study revealed that the in-service teacher trainees lacked the requisite habits and practices required of a teacher of literature. We therefore argue that these teachers would fail to translate literary concepts into PCK because they had not gained any experience in analysing and evaluating full literary texts during their own schooling or teacher training.

Author Biographies

Deborah Vimbandu Sanoto, Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning
Deborah V Sanoto is a Lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education in the School of Education at Botswana Open University. She is interested in the teaching of literature in English and curriculum development and studies in the context of teacher training.
Christa van der Walt
Christa van der Walt is professor in the Department Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University. She is interested in the teaching of English in multilingual contexts.