Do you have what it takes to be a Foundation Phase teacher?

Find out all the facts behind teaching grade one, two and three learners, and decide whether you are the the right fit for this challenging career!

Foundation Phase teaching is the teaching of learners in grades 1, 2 and 3 in the South African school system. Generally, one teacher is responsible for teaching all subjects, and it is a foundational period as this is when reading, writing and numeracy are taught. 

Typical Foundation Phase teacher activities 

The Foundation Phase teachers are responsible for the following activities:

  • The preparation of lessons as per the CAPS curriculum requirements
  • Researching new teaching aids and support material such as textbooks
  • The development of each students’ interests and abilities through activities
  • Tracking the progress of each learner. Reporting this back to the parent or guardian as well as senior members of the school
  • Responsible for guiding and supervising work in class while retaining discipline (a sometimes difficult task with younger learners!
  • Maintain all records as required by the Department of Basic Education
  • Participate in staff meetings, parent-teacher conferences and other events as required
  • Fulfil assessment requirements such as conducting and marking tests

The Foundation Phase teacher’s role is varied and exciting but can also become overwhelming in larger classes. The suitable systems and processes need to be put in place early in a teacher’s career.

A Foundation Phase teacher in a classroom
A Foundation Phase class

What is the Foundation Phase?

The Department of Basic Education is responsible for K12 education in South Africa, and the local curriculum is called CAPS. This curriculum is divided into four phases – Foundation Phase, Intermediate Phase, Senior Phase and FET. Foundation Phase is the first three years of schooling, and the medium of instruction is the learners home language. The language of teaching and learning then switches to English in the Intermediate Phase and for the remainder of the schooling system.

At Foundation Phase, the learner’s subjects are Languages (Home and First Additional), Mathematics and Life Skills. These three subject areas prepare the learners for the rest of their school career, and it is essential to get teaching right at this level!

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Which is better and why? Formal or informal assessment?

Find out the key features of both formal and informal assessments in the classroom. Learn how to use them effectively for maximum results!


We all know the importance of assessment in the classroom. But what is considered formal and informal assessment? In this post, I will define both types of assessments to help you determine which type best fits your needs. 

Most teachers are comfortable using formal assessment in the classroom. The curriculum requires certain formal assessments at specific points in the teaching year, and guidance is provided on these requirements. When it comes to informal assessment, this is mainly left up to the teacher’s initiative. This post will discuss the differences between informal and formal assessment and offer some pros and cons of each. Informal assessments are typically less time-intensive than formal assessments but can be lacking in accuracy. Formal assessments are more accurate but require more time to complete. When deciding which type of assessment is best for your needs, it is essential to consider the amount of time you have available for assessment purposes versus how much information you need about students’ progress on a given skill or concept. 


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Simplify your teaching now, using Bloom’s Taxonomy Question Stems

Do you know all the question stems for each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy? If you’re teaching in the class or online, this is your resource!

Bloom’s Taxonomy question stems is a tool for educators that will help them create and scaffold questions to meet the needs of their learners. It can be challenging to know where to start when setting a question for your students, but you’ll have all the tools necessary with this resource! 

Bloom’s taxonomy is a multi-layered model for encouraging learning by progressing through six levels of increasing complexity. Bloom’s taxonomy encourages learners to engage with knowledge at a deeper and more interactive level, working with what they are learning in the real-world sense, rather than passively taking information on board.

Bloom’s Taxonomy questions

An ideal way for a teacher to engage students is to plan questions that can be used in class discussions or as written assignments. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a framework for structuring these questions from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking. The use of questions in the classroom works best if they follow these guidelines:

  • The questions are planned and closely linked to the objectives of the lesson
  • A climate for open discussion is generated in the classroom, i.e. there are no stupid answers
  • Questioning follows the teaching of content or skills
  • Closed questions are used to check understanding and recall; open questions are used to generate discussion and debate
  • Questions are planned to increase through the cognitive levels from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking

A valuable tool for teachers to use to generate questions is to use question stems. Question stems are used to generate questions that respond to each level in the taxonomy. Below is a comprehensive list of question stems for all levels that teachers in the class can use.

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