More needed to improve reading ability of learners, says expert
The lack of a culture of learning and reading at some schools and a lack of commitment on the part of high school learners contribute to their poor reading ability.
This was the view of Ms Ydalene Coetsee, lecturer and coordinator in the Unit for Afrikaans and English at the Language Centre at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Monday (30 July).
She was the guest speaker at the second conversation of SU’s Schools Partnership Project. The aim of the series of four conversations, organized by the Division for Community Interaction at SU, is to share experiences of teaching and learning in schools that highlight both challenges and possibilities for new pedagogies.
Coetsee said it is shocking that some learners at a local high school struggle to read. According to her, this could be partly attributed to some new technologies which make reading in school redundant. Additionally, these learners do not have any books at home to read, she added.
A lot more must be done to improve the literacy levels of learners who struggle to read, Coetsee argued. “It is vital that learners understand what they read. Better comprehension is key,” she said.
Coetzee noted that learners were able to perform rap songs fluently without a piece of paper, but once they had to read the same words, they struggled. She is of the view that learners should take responsibility for their own reading. “Some do not attend the sessions set aside for reading.”
Unfortunately, most teachers are also overworked and reluctant to add more to their workload, Coetsee added. “I find it hard to motivate teachers to give more.”
“People who help learners in isolated communities to read fulfill a very important function,” said Dr Jerome Slamat, Senior Director: Community Interaction at Stellenbosch University. He added that the University has a generic mandate to help improve the school system.
- The next conversation will take place on 27 August. For more information, contact Rolene Liebenberg, Manager: Schools Partnership Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 808 9142.