Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Specialised Foundation Phase teaching research project takes off

EAGER FOR EDUCATION: Grade 2 learners of Kwa-Faku Primary School in Philippi are taught English by third-year student Lebohang Tsekoa, who uses story-telling in her lesson.

CPUT’s Education Faculty is daring to go where few other Universities of Technology go, by being part of a specialised research programme looking at Foundation Phase teaching methods.

The research programme places emphasis on mathematics and languages, as well as its distinctive focus on teaching in African languages, for Foundation Phase (FP) teaching, which focuses on learners between Grades R to three and gives students an opportunity to excel because they are taught in their home language.

The much-needed programme, which was lauched this year, will run for three years and enjoys the support of the European Union, Department of Higher Education and Training and the Department of Basic Education.

Education lecturer and researcher Nici Rousseau says the two main objectives is to increase the number of graduates who specialise as FP teachers, particularly African language teachers, and to increase the number of public universities that offer similar programmes.

“The project gives us as academics an opportunity to polish up the grey areas of FP teaching, thereby giving learners a fair chance at understanding what they are taught”, says Rousseau.

Rousseau says FP teaching is well on its way to becoming an attractive career choice for matriculants through the bursary programme, which forms part of the EU supported project, targeting around 200 high-achieving African language school leavers.

Dean Prof Maureen Robinson says the FP programme is the jewel in the CPUT Education Faculty’s crown.

“CPUT is positioned at the forefront of Foundation Phase teaching, as it is the only University of Technology with a stand-alone project for this niche,” she says.

“This national project not only promotes the work that we are doing with our students and researchers, but it gives the FP educators a voice and necessary visibility to address the daily challenges in the classroom ”.

By: Thando J. Moiloa

Written by CPUT News