Original Research

Teacher support - an exploration of how foundation-phase teachers facilitate language skills

Anna-Maria Wium, Brenda Louw
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 58, No 2 | a30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v58i2.30 | © 2011 Anna-Maria Wium, Brenda Louw | 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, Department Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The role of speech-language therapists (SLTs) has been redefined by White Paper 6, which emphasises the role of support to both teachers and learners. SLTs have expert knowledge and skills pertaining to communication and language, and therefore have much to contribute to the process of learning in teaching. This article builds on a previous article published in the 2010 edition of the journal, which reported on the process of supporting teachers to facilitate listening, language and numeracy skills in semi-rural and urban (township) contexts. In this follow-up article the focus is on the qualitative findings obtained from a specific section of the larger study. Where the overall study made use of a mixed methods approach to evaluate the process of providing support, and reported on the entire continued professional development (CPD) programme, this article focuses specifically on the qualitative data collected when the CPD programme addressed the facilitation of language. This article explores how the strategies were used in the classrooms, and the benefits of the support provided. The data discussed in this article were obtained from questionnaires, focus groups, and critical self-evaluation by teachers, as well as a research diary used by the programme facilitator. The results show that both the participants and their learners benefited from the support provided. The participants reportedly for the first time were able to meet curriculum outcomes which previously had been omitted, and showed an increased ability to plan their lessons. Several teachers experienced changes in their teaching practices and could reflect on their practices, which contributed to their professional development. These teachers became more empowered. Learning in the classroom was enhanced through increased participation of all learners, and enjoyment of the strategies.


language, literacy, collaboration, numeracy, teachers, support, speech-language therapist


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