International Literacy Day: A conversation with our Future Leaders

 

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Lekoba Mahlatse Mohlala teaches the Grade 8 & 9 classes at the LEAP Science and Maths School in Jane Furse. He shares with us what literacy means to him and why it is important. In our conversation below, he speaks about his experiences on literacy as a young educator.

What is literacy and why is it important?

Literacy is highly regarded in the modern era and in this century, the ability to read and write is of greater importance. The world International Literacy Day highlights the importance of reading and writing.

Literacy is important because it gives rise to important human qualities such as reasoning, improved vocabulary, and improved inquisitive attitude. Literacy helps people to reason more constructively considering the differences in opinions. Computer literacy is particularly important in our current global context because learning is now being done using technology.

The millennial generation is heavily influenced by technology and that is why for us as teachers it is important to be computer literate so that technology can be integrated into the teaching and learning process. Debates or any forms of discussion are better articulated through literacy. Literacy boosts one’s vocabulary which can easily be seen in the choice of words used when speaking or writing. The more people read or write, is the more their vocabulary will improve. Developing an inquisitive attitude is greatly influenced by being literate. Literate people question the world around them which helps to make sense of their surroundings and come up with solutions for problems encountered.

 

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Bhongo Nkhonto teaches at Sonwabo Primary School, Cape Town. She shares with us what literacy means to her and why it is important. In our conversation below, she speaks about her personal experiences in her community.

What are some literacy challenges in your community?

The literacy challenge we face in my community is that we do not have a reading culture due to the imbalance of the past, our parents were not educated and never had the opportunity to have access to reading. The other challenge in my community is we don’t have enough resources and infrastructure to support literacy. For example, libraries and literacy centres and even our schools don’t have functional libraries with a permanent or part-time librarian and most schools don’t have a library at all. These challenges are common and are faced by most township and rural communities all over South Africa.

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Lee Anne Amy Swartz is an intern teacher, teaching Grade 2 Mathematics at St Augustine’s School in Cape Town. She shares with us how can we effectively position literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and some effective literacy activities for the classroom. In our conversation below, she shares activities that have been working for her as a young educator.

How can we effectively position literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis?

Covid-19 has brought numerous challenges to teaching especially the tough measures implemented to control this pandemic. Despite these changes, literacy can still be utilized effectively in teaching by implementing:

 

  • Short weekly programs to effectively help people struggling with literacy
  • If possible, zoom or MS team sessions can be set up to complement teaching and explanation of literacy-based subjects.
  • WhatsApp groups as an alternative that can be used and does not require a lot of Internet data.
  • Booklets can also be collected and returned for marking to the teachers.

What are some effective literacy activities for the classroom?

As an intern teacher, there are various literacy activities which I use during my classes which have proven to be effective when implemented well.

  • Reading too as well as with the learners.
  • Matching sounds and Letter activities.
  • World best games.
  • Dictionary-based activities.
  • Montessori sandpaper letters
  • Kinetic sand trays
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