Original Research

Evaluation of a programme to support foundation-phase teachers to facilitate literacy

Anna-Maria Wium, Brenda Louw, Irma Eloff
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 58, No 2 | a28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v58i2.28 | © 2011 Anna-Maria Wium, Brenda Louw, Irma Eloff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2011 | Published: 09 December 2011

About the author(s)

Anna-Maria Wium, Department Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Brenda Louw, Professor Emeritus: Department Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Irma Eloff, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Learners who do not develop adequate listening and language skills during their early years are at risk of academic failure and early drop-out. Future learning problems may be prevented by supporting these children in the foundation phase to overcome their developmental delays. A continued professional development (CPD) programme was developed to support foundation-phase teachers to facilitate literacy. The theoretical basis for the workshop material was the articulation between an auditory processing model, a language processing model, and literacy.

The focus of this article is on the qualitative findings obtained from the literacy component of a more comprehensive CPD programme that covered several topics. The research was conducted as action research cycles across two contexts (a semi-rural and an urban-township context) and included 96 participants. This article explores how the teachers implemented the strategies to facilitate literacy in their classrooms and the benefits obtained from it. Data were collected by means of questionnaires, self-reflections and focus groups, as well as a research diary and field notes.

The results revealed that the strategies trained were implemented in the classrooms and were valued by the participants. Those who participated in critical reflection felt that they had developed competence and professional growth. Challenges identified included the language used in the support provided, which had an impact on phonological awareness training, and the use of terminology. The importance of collaboration was emphasised. The participants gained in the sense that they learnt how to implement the assessment standards in the curriculum, and learners benefited from the new strategies as they could all participate in the activities. The research confirmed the value of teacher support in the facilitation of literacy, which highlights the role of speech-language therapists working in school contexts.


teacher support, listening, auditory processing, phonological awareness, qualitative research, speech-language pathologists


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