The ECDoE’s initiative to train teachers on Reading Methodologies in IsiXhosa

Author: Siphosethu Zimba
Date: 09 June 2022

The Eastern Cape Department of Education's Primary Curriculum Management in collaboration with School Act and Old Mutual held a Training session for Foundation Phase Educators on Teaching and Reading on Tuesday, 07 June 2022, in Butterworth, Amathole East Education District.

ECDOE is committed to ensuring that all children learn to read with understanding and in support of this, they have developed a Reading Plan for 2019-2023 where Class Act provided tablets to 52 teachers to help ECDOE to capacitate teachers on IsisXhosa reading methodologies.

Giving the purpose of the session was the Deputy Chief Specialist, Primary Curriculum Management, Thembisa Jompolo, she outlined why teacher reading in Foundation Phase level is important and also highlighted the ECDOE’s planned reading strategy.

She mentioned that the ECDoE plans to eliminate the 78% rate of learners who can’t read in the Amathole East District to 0% by 2023. She went on to empathise on the importance of teachers allowing themselves to be developed and capacitated.

She said, “As a teacher you cannot sit in a classroom and be comfortable with saying that your learners do not know how to read. You should constantly ask yourself how you have contributed in that learner’s ability to read.” 

She explained that it takes a dedicated teacher to stand up, understand how they can help a learner to be able to read with understanding and prepare them.   

She closed off by saying, “Many researchers will say that the future of this country lies in the hands of scientific innovators, but I say that the future of this country lies in the hands of a dedicated teacher."

Where will we get these scientists, doctors, lawyers if teachers are sitting comfortably in classrooms, full of learners who can not read? It is time teachers took a stand, put in work and dedication.

Old Mutual Regional Manager, Daliwonga Matha outlined the partnership between Old Mutual and the Department of Education and unfolded on how Old Mutual believed and wanted teachers and leaners to understand the importance of reading with meaning.

He explained that they initiated this 5 year programme for Foundation Phase because they are dedicated in sustaining the investment in educators, so that they can implement and pass on their knowledge to the children.

Class Act Educational Services Project Leader, Nobulungisa Gungubele presented a routine (Isiqhelo) that teachers should abide by when teaching IsiXhosa.

She started off the orientation of Grade 1, IsiXhosa Home Language teachers by elaborating and highlighting the Structured Learning Programme, the care and use of tablets. She said, “The training was meant to capacitate and develop teachers in teaching IsiXhosa using set methodologies and routines."

Amathole East and Chris Hani East District teachers were also introduced to using tablets with daily lesson plans and instructional videos and supplied them with flashcards, decodable worksheets and big books to effectively teach IsiXhosa.

She also mentioned that they will further receive virtual support from an experienced coach.

By attending the session Bukeka Ntanga, a teacher from Chris Hani East at Zakhele SPS Tsomo CMC, said that she attended the workshop which was sponsored by Old mutual and Class Act to the Department of Education to learn how to teach reading using tablets and she gained a lot of knowledge from the session and it met all her expectations.

Another Grade 1 and 2 class teacher from Thornville PS, Nondumiso Tonjeni, said “I attended the training because I want to improve my skills or methods of teaching and from the session I learned a lot on how to deal with slow learners.

The only challenge is the set time for writing and reading, it is not enough at all, but hopefully with assistance from the Department and Class Act these challenges will be tackled.