Writing pedagogy of the news report genre across the intermediate phase in one school
Writing pedagogy of the News Report genre across the Intermediate Phase in one school. The low levels of writing proficiency that are experienced by students is a global phenomenon and South Africa is no exception (DBE, 2008; 2013). The NEEDU Report (2012) and Hendricks (2007, 2008) argue that insufficient extended writing takes place in South African classrooms, resulting in limited textual and linguistic progression across grades. According to Hendricks (2007, 2008) and Dornbrack and Dixon (2014) little research around writing pedagogy has been carried out in South Africa, particularly on how genres or text types are taught and extended across the grades. This research examines the teaching of the News Report genre across the Intermediate Phase in one school, the discourses and positioning of literacy by the three teachers and how these are translated into practice. This study is underpinned by the notion of literacy as a social practice which Street (2003) and Prinsloo (2013) propose is not merely a technical and neutral skill but that it occurs in social practice not only through formal schooling but within a social context which has a direct bearing on it. Themes that emerge from the semi-structured interviews conducted with the three teachers include inadequate information on writing in the CAPS documents, an “overloaded” writing curriculum, a lack of pre-service/ in-service training, gaps in espoused pedagogy and the impact of teachers’ writing histories on their conceptualization of writing and espoused pedagogy. Classroom observations of writing lessons on this genre reveal the dominance of a skills discourse by two of the teachers. However, the third teacher who clearly articulated her own writing history as being “fraught and contested” illustrates evidence of a socio cultural writing pedagogy which deeply engages her students (Ivanic, 2004).