Establishing a research agenda for Foundation Phasei initial teacher education: A systematic review (1994–2014)
Poor literacy and numeracy levels in schools have raised questions in South Africa, as they have internationally, on the quality and appropriateness of initial teacher education for preparing teachers for the complexities faced in schools generally and for the mediation of literacy and numeracy in the early years in particular. This paper profiles empirical research relating to initial teacher education over two decades of South African democracy, derived from a systematic review of journal articles, with the aim of proposing an agenda for research into foundation phase initial teacher education. It concludes that in the period between the birth of South Africa’s democracy and the present, there is little evidence of sustained research on initial teacher education in general, and a dearth of research focused on teacher preparation for the foundation phase in particular. The paper argues for the development of a research agenda that better takes account of the iterative relationship between researching classrooms and researching initial teacher education, especially as it relates to the foundation phase, where research is patchy and unsystematic. Evidence from such research might not only provide a base for policy and curriculum decisions but also lead to more responsive and contextually relevant teacher preparation.
Keywords: diversity; foundation phase; literacy; numeracy; research agenda; teacher education