11 February 2019

South Africa: The Way Children Are Taught to Read Hampers Their Path to Success

Decolonising the Literature Curriculum: We need to develop 'rich literacies'. We need a curriculum that includes the voices of a wide range of writers, to prepare all of our children for a diverse world in which they can find their place as equals.

In this series of articles, we set out to explain the struggles of so many of our children to reach matric and succeed. In Part 1 we argued that we need a radical shift away from the power of English as the only language of learning and assessment from Grade 4, towards policies and practices that affirm and build multilingualism. In Part 2, we explained how the language of content subjects such as science requires focused and inclusive teaching.

In this final part, we shift our focus to the English literature curriculum, to show that what our children are required to read and how they are taught to read place additional obstacles in their path to success. We argue for a change both in the literature that is prescribed for study and in the ways of reading that are taught and assessed in the matric exam.

The overwhelming majority of learners take either English Home Language (HL)...

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