Training Grade R teachers to impart visual perceptual skills for early reading

20 Jul 2016

Visual Perception is the mind?s ability to interpret or give meaning to what is seen with the eyes (WCED 2006). Grade Reception Phase (R) teachers, of five and six year-old learners, need to impart Visual Perceptual Skills (VPS) during visual training for pre-reading. These prereading activities in Grade R support early reading progress in Grade 1, which is critical for improving basic literacy and numeracy education in South Africa. A quality Grade R programme which can deliver these visual training outcomes depends on a progressive model for effective pre- and in-service professional development of teachers. A model implemented via academic-governmental collaboration. This article seeks to describe and recommend best practices of such professional development. The recommendations are based on an overview of the current Grade R professional development landscape, a brief exposition of the Subject Content Knowledge (SCK) of VPS, a document analysis of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum and, finally, a case study with a discourse analysis involving four Grade R teachers.