Teachers’ understanding of emergent literacy in mediating foundational literacies in Grade 0 in Namibia


  • Kenneth Nzwala University of Namibia, Katima Mulilo Campus
  • Giulietta Harrison Africa A+ Schools, South Africa


Grade 0, mediation, emergent literacy, foundational literacy


Shaped by Lev Vygotsky‟s sociocultural theory (SCT) of how children learn, this study investigated Grade 0 teachers‟ understanding of the concept of „emergent literacy‟, and how they used this understanding to mediate foundational literacies in Grade 0. A mixed methods approach and multiple case studies were adopted. Six Grade 0 teachers, selected from three different socio-economic contexts; urban, peri-urban and rural, participated in the study. Teachers were selected using purposive sampling technique while learners were drawn using stratified random sampling. Data were collected through interviews, lesson observation and the paper version of the eEGRA test. Data were analysed statistically using ANOVA with thematic qualitative analysis of interview data against document analysis of curricula, teacher planning and learner exercise books. The research established that teachers did not understand the concept of „emergent literacy‟ and thus mediated foundational literacies in a formal manner. Teachers were oblivious to the fact that Grade 0 was a unique grade. The curriculum does not make any specific mention of the concept of „emergent literacy‟ thereby exacerbating the problem. The study further revealed that the teachers teaching Grade 0 were not specifically Grade 0 trained. The study recommends that Grade 0 teachers should, irrespective of context, be provided with on-the-job training to capacitate them to handle and implement the Grade 0 literacy curriculum; Regional Advisory Teachers (RATs) should render advisory services to Grade 0 teachers; and the curriculum should be revised to accommodate Grade 0 specific content.




How to Cite

Nzwala, K., & Harrison, G. (2024). Teachers’ understanding of emergent literacy in mediating foundational literacies in Grade 0 in Namibia. Namibia Educational Reform Forum Journal, 29(1), 4–20. Retrieved from https://journals.nied.edu.na/index.php/nerfj/article/view/87