Establishing a Research Agenda for Foundation Phase Initial Teacher Education: A Systematic Review 1994-2014Report as inadecuate

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South African Journal of Education, v36 n3 Article 1263 Aug 2016

Poor literacy and numeracy levels in schools have raised questions in South Africa, as they have internationally, on the quality and appropriateness of initial teacher education for preparing teachers for the complexities faced in schools generally and for the mediation of literacy and numeracy in the early years in particular. This paper profiles empirical research relating to initial teacher education over two decades of South African democracy, derived from a systematic review of journal articles, with the aim of proposing an agenda for research into foundation phase initial teacher education. It concludes that in the period between the birth of South Africa's democracy and the present, there is little evidence of sustained research on initial teacher education in general, and a dearth of research focused on teacher preparation for the foundation phase in particular. The paper argues for the development of a research agenda that better takes account of the iterative relationship between researching classrooms and researching initial teacher education, especially as it relates to the foundation phase, where research is patchy and unsystematic. Evidence from such research might not only provide a base for policy and curriculum decisions but also lead to more responsive and contextually relevant teacher preparation.

Descriptors: Research Needs, Agenda Setting, Literature Reviews, Journal Articles, Research Methodology, Units of Study, Social Justice, Cultural Differences, Theory Practice Relationship, Curriculum Development, Professional Identity, Educational Policy, Educational Change, Language Acquisition, Preservice Teacher Education

Education Association of South Africa. University of Pretoria, Centre for the Study of Resilience, Level 3, Groenkloof Student Centre, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, George Storrar Road and Lleyds Street, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Tel: +27-12-420-5798; Fax: +27-12-420-5511; Web site:

Author: Baxen, Jean; Botha, Liz Johanson


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