Utilising Choice Theory and Reciprocal Teaching to promote the teaching of reading comprehension in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6)
Stellenbosch - Stellenbosch University
In South Africa, learners’ standard of reading in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6) is cause for considerable concern. The 2016-PIRLS findings have provided overwhelming evidence that South African Grade 4 learners struggle with reading comprehension (Pretorius & Klapwijk, 2016). In addition, key findings of the same study showed that 78% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa do not have basic reading skills by the end of the Grade 4 school year. Therefore, the reading comprehension standard in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6) of South Africa is in dire need of reconsideration. This study investigated how Choice Theory, as an explanation of human behaviour, can provide a foundation to enhance the teaching of Reciprocal Teaching reading comprehension strategies. The study highlighted that Choice Theory in education provides an intrinsic model of teaching that could be utilised to promote the explicit teaching of the four reading comprehension strategies of Reciprocal Teaching. This study was a real effort to shift the focus from the learners to the teachers who have not been trained effectively to teach Reciprocal Teaching reading comprehension strategies explicitly. The study was based on the theoretical framework of Social Constructivism, Choice Theory, and Reciprocal Teaching as underpinning theories for the development of the teaching of reading comprehension. A qualitative research approach was adopted to make sense of participants’ experience of Choice Theory and Reciprocal Teaching. For the purpose of this qualitative research, a single-case study was chosen as the research design to obtain in-depth information from the participants. Data were collected through classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, focus group meetings and reflective journals of teachers. The data from the observations and interviews were used triangulated to confirm or disconfirm findings and helped to control or correct the subjective bias of the individual. The researcher used ATLAS.ti, a CAQDAS software programme, to manage and manipulate the data.