Writing approaches and strategies used by teachers in selected South African English First Additional Language classrooms

Nomalungelo I. Ngubane*, Berrington Ntombela, Samantha Govender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The teaching of writing in English First Additional Language (EFAL) classrooms remains less explored in the Further Education and Training Phase (FET) in South Africa. This is so despite research showing a decline in the writing skills of second language learners, especially at the FET phase, calling attention to how writing is taught. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate writing approaches and teaching strategies used by teachers in teaching writing in selected EFAL FET classrooms in the Pinetown district. Method: A qualitative approach was adopted to observe five writing lessons across five schools using a video camera. Discourse analysis was used to analyse data. Results: The findings indicate that teachers mostly used a process approach to writing, which is in line with their curriculum. The study also found that teachers generally used a question and answer method to teach writing, which entails teachers controlling the interactions in the classrooms through a nomination-response cycle. Analyses of lessons also suggest that teachers creatively employed code-switching to explain writing concepts better. Conclusion: The study concludes that the effectiveness of any pedagogy depends on the teachers’ knowledge and understanding of writing and approaches to writing. For effective development of learners’ writing, the study recommends instruction methods that embrace collaborative writing activities in the learners’ Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and the recognition of learners’ home languages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number261
JournalReading and Writing (South Africa)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Code switching
  • Collaborative learning
  • Discourse analysis
  • English First Additional Language
  • Narrative essay
  • Zone of Proximal Development


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