Signposting Foundation Phase teachers’ professional identities in selected Western Cape primary schools, South Africa
The aim of this article is to report on the Foundation Phase (FP) teachers’ professional identities in two primary schools in the Western Cape. This is meant to serve as a basis for understanding teachers’ identities with regard to their teaching experience, qualifications, specialised knowledge base, and ongoing professional development. The article is based on data collected by means of a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with the FP teachers in two township schools where isiXhosa is used as the medium of instruction in the Foundation Phase (Grades R to Three). We argue that while teacher identity research has received attention across the globe in the past four decades, little is known about the implications of teacher professional identity for literacy teaching in South African classrooms, especially where an African language is used as a language of learning and teaching. Our findings reveal the pluricentric nature of the FP teachers’ qualifications and backgrounds. We conclude that FP teachers’ professional identity (TPI) cannot be conceptualised in a simplistic and unidimensional way, but can be viewed as an intersectional construct that impacts on literacy instructional practices.
Keywords: early childhood; Foundation Phase; identity; isiXhosa; teacher professional identity
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