Teacher preparedness to utilize emergent literacy for teaching initial literacy in selected schools of Mansa District

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Imange, Samuel
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This study investigated whether or not primary school teachers utilized learner’s emergent literacy in teaching conventional literacy to Grade 1 learners. The study also investigated on other means the teachers applied to utilize emergent literacy and what challenges they encountered in their teaching of conventional literacy. Vygotsky’s constructivist theory of learning in line with that of learning from the known to unknown guided this study. The purpose of this study was to establish whether or not primary school teachers knew and utilized emergent literacy in teaching the literacy skills of reading and writing. The study was a descriptive survey and adopted the qualitative approach. Structured observation schedule and semi- structured interview guide were the instruments used to collect data from the respondents for this research. The sample size was 62 Grade 1 teachers and 3,594 pupils. Purposive sampling was applied to get the sample. The population comprised all Grade 1 teachers and their pupils in Mansa District. Data were collected through lesson observation and post lesson interviews with each teacher observed. The findings were organized, interpreted and analyzed thematically following the research objectives. The major findings indicated that Grade 1 teachers did not have adequate understanding of emergent literacy, the concept appeared new to them and it was difficult for them to utilize it. It was also revealed that teachers did not perceive emergent literacy as the foundation for conventional literacy development among children. In addition, no teaching and learning materials with emergent literacy background were designed for teaching literacy.The study suggested the following as some of the recommendations. Equip teachers with knowledge of emergent literacy through in-service training, the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MoESVTEE) to review and redesign the teacher-education curriculum to include a component on emergent literacy to ensure primary school teachers graduate with this knowledge and were equipped for effective and successful literacy instruction in Grade 1. The other recommendation was promotion of a print-rich and language-rich environment in the primary school classroom as a means through which teachers would effectively scaffold the learning of conventional literacy.
Reading (Primary) , Reading --Language experience approach