The implementation of shared writing when teaching the writing process in the Intermediate Phase Afrikaans home language
Since 2012, the poor literacy levels of intermediate phase (IP) learners have been a concern for officials in the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Responding to the literacy crisis, the WCED has implemented the South African Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), along with various other literacy interventions, but in the West Coast District, IP learners’ writing skills remain poor. Focusing on the West Coast District, this thesis sheds light on the implementation of the writing-instruction practices prescribed by CAPS: specifically, the implementation of “shared writing” as a scaffolding method for teaching writing to learners. The thesis maps the theoretical and conceptual framework of the writing process, with an emphasis on shared writing. In particular, it discusses Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s ideas on social-cognitive development and scaffolding. The gradual release of responsibility (GRR) and balanced language approach (BLA) instruction models propose that a competent adult should interactively model the writing process to learners before group writing (practice) and independent writing (assessment) are attempted. While these stages of instruction are included in CAPS, this study investigated the extent of their implementation. Current literature in the field of writing instruction foregrounds the concepts of “thinking aloud” and “shared pen”, according to which the teacher and the learner co-compose a text, allowing learners to become competent writers. In this study, quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to describe and understand West Coast District IP Afrikaans Home Language (HL) teachers’ perceptions of their use of shared writing to teach the writing process. Data collection consisted of quantitative and qualitative questionnaires, as well as interviews, with results converted into percentages. Subsequent data analysis disclosed the patterns, strengths, and weaknesses experienced by IP Afrikaans HL teachers in the West Coast District. Current IP writing-instruction practices can provide the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) with valuable insights into the implementation of shared writing, and of CAPS as a whole.