What is Foundation Phase teaching?

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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