young readers and writers in southern africa realities visions and challenges n.
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YOUNG READERS AND WRITERS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: REALITIES, VISIONS, AND CHALLENGES
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  1. YOUNG READERS AND WRITERS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: REALITIES, VISIONS, AND CHALLENGES Carole Bloch Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) University of Cape Town cbloch@humanities.uct.ac.za

  2. Grades 1 to 3 = 3 years in the mother tongue, OR ‘straight for English’, OR something in between. Most teachers communicate with the children, and teach in an indigenous language they and (most or all of) the children share.

  3. Grade 4 onwards - official medium of instruction = English • Almost all reading materials (textbooks etc) = English • Children write in English • All assessment (which is almost exclusively written) = English

  4. ORAL WRITTEN AND ORAL WRITTEN

  5. European influence: • Reading as a psychological perceptual activity • Focus on relationships between sounds and symbols • ‘Readiness' industry with non- print related activities and materials.

  6. Literacy is made up of autonomous sets of skills that can be broken down, learned and then later applied. Held as gospel in systems staffed by untrained or poorly trained African language speaking teacher trainers and teachers, many of whom lived almost exclusively in the oral mode.

  7. Shifts in emphasis FROM: Literacy as autonomous skills TO: Literacy as social and cultural practices

  8. Emergent literacy • Whole language • Link between learning oral language and written language

  9. Role of stories, play and imagination in early literacy development

  10. PRINT RICH abundant mother tongue materials high status literacy events and practices whole language, emergent literacy family literacy PRINT SCARCE few or no mother tongue materials low status literacy as skills textbook teacher phonics, rote-learning skills school literacy Environments for literacy

  11. Many teachers are not readers and writers.

  12. BECAUSE linguists and language scholars are passionate about African languages and also often about disecting and getting teachers to transmit the 'correct' form of their language AND teachers haven't been educated in their mother tongue, teachers get trained to approach mother tongue teaching as if it were a foreign language.

  13. The focus is on how to get text books into the hands of teachers and children, first in mother tongue and then the ex-colonial language.

  14. Holding back the development of African language children’s literature has held back developing effective literacy teachers.

  15. Storybooks and other meaningful texts are effectively discarded as ‘supplementary’ material, the luxury that we all know most African children don’t get. Our youngsters continue to be denied opportunities to experience richness of stories in their own languages in print.

  16. MOTHER TONGUE-BASED BILINGUAL EDUCATION not either mother tongue or English but both mother tongue and English

  17. SITUATION Ex ‘coloured’ English medium school ‘Influx’ of Xhosa speakers English/Afrikaans teachers and peers No planning/training Teachers ‘tearing hair out’ ACTION Raise status of Xhosa by using in print for simultaneous biliteracy learning Introduce Xhosa to English/Afrikaans children Xhosa and English teachers work together Battswood Biliteracy Project 1998 - 2003

  18. children need to be taught through structured phonics based methods having some mother tongue teaching means less English learning children get confused if they learn to read and write simultaneously in their mother tongue and an additional language children should be introduced to a second language orally before in writing Introduce and explore pedagogies to challenge notions such as:

  19. Explore using an emergent literacy approach to enable children, most of whom are from ‘low literacy’ homes, to become motivated to want to read and write for personally meaningful reasons.

  20. Creating a print-rich environment: hunting for Xhosa and English stories; making own reading materialsetc

  21. Introducing interactive writing as a way to stimulate writing in both languages, risk taking, invented spellings, one-to-one nurturing.

  22. By the end of grade 6 we could see: • many children communicating and expressing themselves through reading and writing in two languages • that the development of English competence was not hindered • children who were proud and confident to be reading and writing in Xhosa

  23. Free Reading in Schools ProjectFRISC • Reading freely for enjoyment, information • Why should children in the South not have literacy learning made easier for them by having the option of enjoying storybooks in their mother tongues?

  24. Critical issues which seem obvious • Teachers don’t see the point of reading for enjoyment, even in English • Teachers need to be inspired so that they enjoy reading as well as children • How to: select appropriate stories for different ages; read to children; have an open-ended conversation etc • What to do about the shortage of books?

  25. Feeling at home with literacy • Follows Zia from home to school and back home • Demonstrates some useful experiences, strategies and outcomes • Gives trainers and teachers possibilities against which to consider their own situation

  26. At home with print, but in which languages?

  27. At home – exploring bilingual print

  28. What print do you see on the way to school?

  29. Print on the way to school

  30. Start with what the children know…

  31. Linking writing into meaning

  32. What to read? In which languages?

  33. What to read? In which languages?

  34. Make time to read in your mother tongue…

  35. Make time to read in your mother tongue

  36. Spell for yourself to say what you want to say.

  37. Spell for yourself

  38. Bilingual and biliterate!

  39. Not either- or but Both- and

  40. Achieving confusing clarity!

  41. How to gain confusing clarity!

  42. Play makes perfect!

  43. Play makes perfect