SA Journal of Education, Vol 41, No 3 (2021)

Challenges of English as a first additional language: Fourth grade reading teachers’ perspectives

Liziwe Fesi, Vusumzi Mncube


The study reported on here was designed to investigate the challenges faced by teachers when teaching reading in Grade 4 English First Additional Language (EFAL) in East London, South Africa. This research study was framed by the socio-constructivist theory of reading. A case study design that corresponds with the constructivist paradigm was used to gather qualitative data. Semi-structured interviews and observations were conducted with 12 teachers who were purposively selected from 4 public schools (2 English teachers from each school and 1 natural sciences teacher) to establish the challenges that they encountered in their attempts to encourage Grade 4 EFAL learners to gain proficiency in English. Data presented were taken from a large scale on English reading problems. The data were analyzed using Critical Discourse Analysis and were arranged and coded into 5 themes. The major findings refer to the poor level of reading of Grade 4 EFAL learners, a decrease in teacher and learner motivation, overcrowded classrooms and inadequate training on reading strategies. Based on the findings of the study and an extensive literature review, the Comprehensive Model for teaching reading is recommended.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Liziwe Fesi -
Vusumzi Mncube -

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