Agency and intermediate phase writing in a farm school release_fypiqeuabnhq3gf7vepbpuvfti

by Margaret A. Hill

Published in Reading & Writing by AOSIS.



Against a background that raises problems associated with the classification of languages incurrent South African curriculum policy, this article describes a programme based on a visual approach to writing, implemented in a farm school. The medium of instruction was English. The home languages of the teachers and learners were Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Sociocultural perspectives congruent with those of New Literacy Studies influenced the design of the writing programme. The school management had identified a serious deficit in intermediate phase (Grades 4–6) learners' ability to perform beyond typical responses to rote learning. The brief given to the literacy coach by the school management was to develop their ability to use English – the language of learning and teaching (LoLT) of the school – expressively, to help them to construct original texts and to improve their mastery of the conventions of text. The management's main aim was to promote the learners' agency in their use of English, as it had come to see this ability as crucial to academic progress in higher Grades and to success in tertiary education. The literacy coach implemented a visual approach to composing original texts. Key successes were evident in the variety, volume and literary quality of the learners' texts, which exceeded expectations specified in the National Curriculum Statement applicable at the time.
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Date   2015-06-17
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