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Providing remedial support to primary school learners within their zone of proximal development

Authors:
  • University of Namibia and University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa

Abstract and Figures

Background: One of the methods receiving the current attention in addressing poor performance and low learning achievements among lower primary school learners is through remedial teaching. The approach to provide remedial support was informed by Vygotsky’s social development theory. Aim: The objective of this study was to support primary school learners who failed with ungraded symbols in their first school term to obtain better passing symbols at the end of Term 2 and Term 3. Setting: An intervention was carried out in 2016 academic year to provide remedial support to learners who were enrolled at Catholic AIDS Action Tonateni Centre in Oshakati town, Namibia. Methods: Quantitative approach and descriptive design methods were used in this study. The first school term results were used as a baseline. A total of 12 learners (five boys and seven girls) from Grades 1 to 7 were randomly selected to participate in the remedial class. Data collection instruments included learners’ school reports, homework books, class exercise books and test books. Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyse descriptive statistics, namely, frequencies and percentages. Results: Results showed that the participating learners obtained better passing symbols in the three identified subjects: Oshindonga first language, English second language and mathematics as depicted in their Term 2 and Term 3 school reports. Conclusion: Remedial support demonstrated that learners who performed with poor symbols at the end of their first school term could still obtain better passing symbols in the second and third term provided they are supported to improve in their areas of learning difficulties. Keywords: academic performance; English second language; Oshindonga first language; mathematics; remedial teaching; zone of proximal development.
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South African Journal of Childhood Educaon
ISSN: (Online) 2223-7682, (Print) 2223-7674
Page 1 of 7 Original Research
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Author:
Simon G. Taukeni1
Aliaon:
1Department of Educaonal
Psychology and Inclusive
Educaon, University of
Namibia, Rundu, Namibia
Corresponding author:
Simon Taukeni,
staukeni@gmail.com
Dates:
Received: 13 Apr. 2018
Accepted: 05 June 2019
Published: 03 Oct. 2019
How to cite this arcle:
Taukeni, S.G., 2019,
‘Providing remedial support
to primary school learners
within their zone of proximal
development’, South African
Journal of Childhood
Educaon 9(1), a654.
hps://doi.org/10.4102/
sajce.v9i1.654
Copyright:
© 2019. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
Introducon
A country’s successful development trajectory depends exclusively on its well-educated citizenry
(Ganimian & Mumane 2014). Namibia has achieved a noticeable increase in the enrolment rate in
the early childhood education after it became independent in 1990. This significant advancement
towards universal primary enrolment was confirmed by United Nations International Children’s
Emergency Fund (UNICEF) that by the end of 2009, the net primary enrolment (Grades 1–7) rate
has reached 98% in 1992. The survival rate to Grade 8 also steadily increased from 52% in 1992 to
77% by 2008. Even though there has been consistent increase in both enrolment and survival rates,
the repetition rates have also been on increase for Grades 1, 5 and 8. The highest repetition rate
was recorded at Grade 5 with 25.7% in 2007 from the lowest level of 20.5% in 2004 (UNICEF 2011).
Educational attainment levels are often quite low and even when learners are attending schools,
sometimes very little is learned in most African developing countries (Pritchett 2013). Boone et al.
(2015) suggest that to deal with low learning attainment, communities should provide remedial
after-school classes to support learners whose academic achievements are low. Research supported
evidence of different methods being used in developing countries addressing these low learning
achievements. However, there have been reports of difficulties in implementing public policy
(Kremer & Holla 2009), which posed a great concern to effect the necessary progress in children’s
learning. The provision of remedial support to struggling learners after the normal school day has
been shown to work in several settings (Muralidharan 2013). It was on that basis that a psychologist
volunteered to provide remedial support to children who were being enrolled at Catholic AIDS
Action Tonateni Centre in Oshakati town, Namibia.
Background: One of the methods receiving the current attention in addressing poor
performance and low learning achievements among lower primary school learners is through
remedial teaching. The approach to provide remedial support was informed by Vygotsky’s
social development theory.
Aim: The objective of this study was to support primary school learners who failed with
ungraded symbols in their first school term to obtain better passing symbols at the end of Term
2 and Term 3.
Setting: An intervention was carried out in 2016 academic year to provide remedial support to
learners who were enrolled at Catholic AIDS Action Tonateni Centre in Oshakati town,
Namibia.
Methods: Quantitative approach and descriptive design methods were used in this study. The
first school term results were used as a baseline. A total of 12 learners (five boys and seven
girls) from Grades 1 to 7 were randomly selected to participate in the remedial class. Data
collection instruments included learners’ school reports, homework books, class exercise
books and test books. Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyse descriptive
statistics, namely, frequencies and percentages.
Results: Results showed that the participating learners obtained better passing symbols in the
three identified subjects: Oshindonga first language, English second language and mathematics
as depicted in their Term 2 and Term 3 school reports.
Conclusion: Remedial support demonstrated that learners who performed with poor symbols
at the end of their first school term could still obtain better passing symbols in the second and
third term provided they are supported to improve in their areas of learning difficulties.
Keywords: academic performance; English second language; Oshindonga first language;
mathematics; remedial teaching; zone of proximal development.
Providing remedial support to primary school learners
within their zone of proximal development
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In their article, Sahito et al. (2017:2) assert that remedial
support means ‘providing a remedy or cure’ to where is
most needed. Therefore, the main aim of the remedial
support was to provide a remedy based on the lack of
competencies and skills identified from the learners’
homework books, class exercises and test books. The
remedial support was primarily aimed to support learners
to improve in the areas where they lacked necessary
competencies and skills considering their zone of proximal
developments (ZPDs). Informed by Vygotsky’s ZPD, the
remedial support aimed at identifying what the children
could do on their own without any assistance from the
teacher and what they could not do without support
(Vygotsky 1978).
Zone of proximal development
The concept ZPD was introduced by Lev Vygotsky during
the late 1920s and developed it further until in 1934.
According to Vygotsky in Shabani, Khatib and Ebadi (2010),
ZPD means:
[T]he distance between the actual development level as
determined by independent problem solving and the level of
potential development as determined through problem solving
under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peer.
(p.86)
In other words, Vygotsky described ZPD as the difference
between the actual level of development of what a child can
do without support and the next level of development a child
needs to attain with the support from the capable adult or
peers.
Zone of proximal development concept is deep rooted in
the social theory of learning that learners learn best with
others collaboratively and cooperatively, and it is through
such collaborative activities with more skilled persons
that learners learn and internalise new ideas and skills
(Shabani et al. 2010). It was for that understanding the
volunteer used the learners’ homework books, class
exercise books and tests to have a better understanding of
the learners’ current and actual developments. Because
the learners came from different schools, using their
different homework activities and exercise books provided
a great opportunity of sharing new ideas and methods
from one another.
Roosevelt (2008) asserts that education based on ZPD
perspective seeks to support learners by providing them
with problem-solving tasks that are more challenging their
actual level of development to work together with a more
competent peer or teacher to finish the task. The idea
behind is that after completing the task collaboratively
with other peers or teacher, the learner would have
acquired the necessary skills to complete the same
task individually next time because his or her ZPD
for that particular task would have been raised (Shabani
et al. 2010).
Scaolding learners in Oshindonga
rst language
When Namibia gained independence in 1990, the new
Ministry of Education and Culture by then developed a new
language policy for schools detailed in a document entitled:
The language policy for schools: 1992–1996 and beyond
(Ministry of Education and Culture [MEC] 1993). The policy
directed learners to be taught primarily in their home
language in Grades 1–3. English was to be a compulsory
subject starting in Grade 1 and then become the main medium
of instruction from Grade 4 and onward. According to MEC
(1993), the goals of language policy were to utilise education
as a tool to enhance learners’ language and cultural identity,
and to help learners become competent in English by the end
of their 77-year primary education cycle. Namibia has 13
indigenous recognised languages, 10 African languages and
three European languages (Frydman 2011).
Twelve learners recruited to receive remedial support in this
study were all doing Oshindonga first language at their
respective schools. The importance of the indigenous
language in second-language achievement has been reported
widely and there is strong support that children who are not
taught in their indigenous language at lower school levels are
likely to face challenges in mastering reading skills later in
school (Prinsloo 2007; Wolfaardt 2005). It was for that reason
the language policy in Namibia instructed learners to be
taught in their indigenous languages during the first 3 years
of their primary school education and from Grade 4 the
medium of instruction should be changed to English (MEC
cited in Mostert et al. 2012).
Efforts to transform education and empower the youth of the
country to reach their full potential by embracing their
cultural identity (Chavez 2016) have been initiated. One of
the primary school teachers in the interview revealed that
there is a general understanding in their community that
Oshindonga teachers are less educated and therefore
sometimes regarded as incompetent teachers, while those
who know English are regarded as the highest qualified ones
(Legere cited in Chavez 2016). Because of little motivation,
there are only few teachers who qualified to teach in
indigenous languages (Chavez 2016).
A number of challenges were noted as with regard to the full
implementation of the language policy in Namibia. Of those
challenges, schools were unable to provide indigenous
language medium of instruction because of the lack of
necessary teaching materials such as books. Another issue
was the fact that Namibia is a diverse and inclusive nation
where many learners with diverse indigenous languages
were found in the same classroom and it became a challenge
in selecting one indigenous medium of instruction. In an
attempt to overcome these challenges, some schools have
opted for English as medium of instruction from Grade 1 and
as a result ended up neglecting one of the indigenous
Page 3 of 7 Original Research
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language (cited in Chavez 2016). All the learners who took
part in the remedial class were doing Oshindonga as first
language at their respective schools.
The teaching and learning process of indigenous languages,
such as Oshindonga, faced noticeable challenges. In most
cases, schools that strive for better indigenous language best
practices lack the resources to do so. That is one of the reasons
Brock-Utne and Holmarsdottir (2001) observe that the choice
of languages offered by a school is most of the time because
of financial reason rather than pedagogical one. It seems that
international donors tend to support European languages
than African languages and as a result there are more teaching
and learning resources available in English than in the
indigenous languages (Chavez 2016).
Many linguistic researchers emphasise the importance of the
indigenous language, not only for second-language
acquisition but also for general school achievement. For
instance, Heugh (2005) argues that learners who are not
taught in their indigenous language during early phases are
likely to obtain poor grades and become underachievers in
their later years in school. They will also likely find it difficult
in other content-based subjects such as history and science. It
was also observed with a concern in the reports of learners
recruited for remedial class that many of them did not
perform very well in Oshindonga first language.
Scaolding learners in English second language
English is the second most widely spoken European language
in the world, spoken by more than 350 million people, and
the most widely taught as international language in schools
(Sahito et al. 2017). In Namibia, English is taught in both
private and public schools as a first and second language. It
is also an official language used in Namibia. In 2008, about
243 schools had received permission from the Ministry of
Education to use English as a medium of instruction from
Grade 1 and onward. More schools had since adopted an
English-only policy, partly because of the increase in parents
who took their children out of schools that used indigenous
language as a medium of instruction and enrolled them
in schools that used English as medium of instruction
(Tötemeyer 2010).
Even though English is given higher status, a test compiled
and evaluated by the University of Namibia in 2011 revealed
that 98%of teachers in Namibia were not sufficiently
proficient in Basic English. However, nearly 63% junior
secondary teachers had poor knowledge of English, which
was hampering teaching and learning process. The test
further showed that about 70% of the teachers in senior
secondary schools could not read and write Basic English
(Kisting 2012). Teachers’ lack of basic knowledge could be
because of the fact that most of them had gone through a
different education system, which did not use English as a
medium of instruction. However, their lack of knowledge in
English had disadvantaged some learners (Ministry of Basic
Education, Sport and Culture 2003). It was also clear from the
performance of the learners who took part in remedial class
that many of them lack basics. Their Term 1 results showed
that none of the learners obtained an A or B symbol in their
reports and five of the learners had failed with ungraded
symbol in English.
Scaolding learners in mathemacs
The use of differentiated instruction method based on
summative and formative assessment results by teachers to
support their learners in mathematics is well documented.
Differentiated instruction is a method of developing
instruction based on learners’ learning styles and needs
(Beecher & Sweeny 2008). The intervention was informed by
the summative and formative assessment results of the
learners. All remedial support activities were based on the
assessment results; the aim was to identify their strengths
and improve on their weaknesses to do better in the next two
school terms.
Mathematics performance for struggling learners was linked
to some of the psychological factors, namely, motivation, self-
efficacy and engagement (Zhao et al. 2011). Other problems
facing struggling mathematics learners include fluency in
basic computation (Berg & Hutchinson 2010), number sense
concepts (Geary, Bailey & Hoard 2009), fractional concepts
(Courey et al. 2012) and mental arithmetic skills (Lee et al.
2011). Nearly all these problems were observed facing
learners who took part in the remedial class. However,
remedial support had somewhat helped many of the learners
to develop basic skills needed to solve mathematical
problems. DeFilippis (2014) suggests that teachers should
advance proficient level in mathematics beyond the
traditional lecture-based teaching and adopt an inclusive
approach such as individualised approach to meet all
learners’ needs.
Research methodology
Quantitative approach and descriptive research design
were used to carry out the research. Chudleigh and
Smith (2015) list quantitative approach to include
the following designs: descriptive, correlation, quasi-
experimental research and experimental research design.
The overall methodological approach was to describe the
current status of children who took part in the remedial
class by using first school term results as a baseline and
consequently the second and last term that would depict
their current status. Descriptive design was more
appropriate for this research whose main aim was to
support primary school learners who failed with ungraded
symbols in their first school term to obtain better passing
symbols at the end of Term 2 and Term 3 and assess the
effectiveness of the intervention (LoBlondo-Wood & Haber
2014). It was further appropriate because descriptive design
seeks for the development of future quantitative research
hypothesis (Burns & Grove 2011).
Page 4 of 7 Original Research
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Populaon and sample
The target population of the intervention consisted of all
learners who failed with ungraded symbols in their first school
term. A sample consisted of 12 learners (five boys and seven
girls) from Grades 1 to 7. Further justification of how sample
was selected is discussed in the section ‘Sampling technique’.
Sampling technique
Learners were randomly selected based on the Term 1
performance, as shown in their school reports. Subjects were
only picked because learners scored with ungraded symbols
and other poor symbols. Therefore, the remedial support was
only focusing on scaffolding learners’ learning needs on the
three school subjects: Oshindonga first language, English
second language and mathematics of which learners
performed poorly. It was a requirement for all the registered
learners at the centre to provide their school reports at the
end of every school term. Learners who underperformed and
failed with ungraded symbols as indicated in their reports
were invited to form a remedial class. About two learners
who performed well were purposively invited to join the
class and serve as capable peers to assist other learners.
Remedial aim, meline and duraon
The remedial support was facilitated by a volunteer, who is a
psychologist, together with some capable peers to support
other learners who performed poorly in their first school
term. The remedial support was seeking to improve learners’
learning needs in Oshindonga first language, English second
language and mathematics. These subjects were purposively
selected because none of the learners obtained an A symbol in
Term 1 as a baseline. The intervention sought to at least assist
some learners to gain an A symbol in the identified subjects.
Remedial support was aimed to scaffold learners according
to their identified learning needs. Documents analysed
revealed the learning needs in terms of reading and writing
both in Oshindonga and English. Therefore, remedial activities
for Grades 1–3 covered supporting learners about learning
alphabetical letters and numbers. Learners were also given
tasks to write and read short stories in both languages. The
main aim was really to build learners’ vocabulary, and to
improve their comprehension and the use of tenses. Both the
volunteer and capable peers provided necessary assistance
and corrections during the tasks.
Activities for learners in Grades 4–7 were mainly about
addressing the lack of writing skills as reflected in the
participating learners’ Oshindonga and English homework
and class activity books. Learners wrote different stories
based on the given themes during the remedial class. They
were also given activities on grammar especially to complete
the sentences using tenses for comprehension purposes. In
mathematics subject, the remedial support included tasks
that they were doing at school, namely, addition, subtraction,
multiplication and division. Fractional concept and basic
computational tasks were done during the remedial class.
The intervention was carried out for only 2 months per term.
The timeframe was informed by the school term calendar of
2016 academic year. It started in the second school term from
June to July 2016 and in third term from September to October
2016. The class was facilitated from Monday to Wednesday
from 15:00 to 16:00 for children in Grades 1–3 and 16:00 to
17:00 for children in Grades 4–7. Usually, time from 13:00 to
15:00 was reserved for children to arrive at the centre from
school and to finish eating their meal of the day. Remedial
support timetable is presented in Table 1.
Data collecon
The researcher used document analysis, including learners’
school reports, homework books, class exercise books and
test books to collect data. These instruments provided
information regarding the participating learners’ areas of
difficulty. As a facilitator, there was a need to identify what
each learner could do and what he or she could not do, and
that information was obtained from the learners’ homework
books, class activity books and test books as part of their
formative assessment.
Data analysis
Descriptive statistics in terms of frequencies and percentages
were analysed with Statistical Package for Social Sciences
and presented in tables. Data analysis included participants’
demographical details and performance in the three subjects:
Oshindonga, English and mathematics per each school term.
Ethical consideraons
A researcher wrote consent letters for every invited child to
take to their parents and caregivers for signature. Only
children whose parents had signed and given consent were
allowed to partake in remedial class activities. All
participating learners agreed to attend every class after
school and they were all informed about their voluntary
participation in the remedial class.
This is the scholarly work of the author. Where other people’s
work has been used (e.g. from printed sources, Internet or
any other source), this has been properly acknowledged and
referenced. This research study has never been published or
sent anywhere for publication. Participants’ personal identity
remains strictly confidential.
Results
Demographical details of learners are the first to be presented
in Table 2 followed by the results of learners’ performance
from Term 1 to Term 3, as presented in Tables 3–5.
TABLE 1: Remedial support metable.
Day of the week Subject Time
Monday Oshindonga rst language 15:00–17:00
Tuesday English second language 15:00–17:00
Wednesday Mathemacs 15:00–17:00
Thursday General consultaon 14:00–17:00
Friday Sport and drama 14:00–17:00
Page 5 of 7 Original Research
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Table 2 shows that learners who took part in the remedial
class, the majority (80%) were male of 6–8 years old and only
a few (20%) male were of 9–12 years old. As with regard to
female in the remedial class, more than a half (57.1%) were of
9–12 years old and about 42.9% were of 6–8 years old.
Results per subjects
The main objective of this research was to describe the
difference between variables to develop hypothesis that could
be tested in further quantitative research studies. The aim of
the study was to describe how participating learners had
performed in Term 2 and Term 3, which they performed poorly
in Term 1. Table 3 presents results of Oshindonga first language.
Table 3 shows that using Term 1 as a baseline, one could see
that there has been a positive consistent improvement in
Oshindonga first language in general. The notable
improvement was achieved with the increase of B symbols
from 16.7% to 33.3% in Term 2. One major concern, however,
observed was that none (0%) of learners obtained an A
symbol in their own mother tongue in all the three school
terms. Table 4 presents results for English second language.
Using Term 1 as a baseline, Table 4 shows that the majority
of learners obtained C and D symbols in both Term 2 and
Term 3. There has been a positive improvement on the
number of learners who failed English second language with
an ungraded symbol from 41.7% to only 8.3% in Term 3.
Clearly, there has been improvement in both Term 2 and
Term 3. In general, the result shows that not a single learner
managed to obtain either an A or B symbol in all three terms.
Table 5 presents results of how learners performed in
mathematics
Table 5 reports a significant improvement on the number of
learners who obtained an A symbol in mathematics from
0.0% to 25.0% in Term 2 and 16.7% in Term 3. Interestingly,
there was no change recorded on the number of learners who
obtained a B symbol; they all maintained 16.7% in all three
terms. Even though the intervention has produced positive
results in general, one of the learners could not obtain a
passing symbol in Term 3.
Discussion
The descriptive results showed that the participating learners
performed significantly well in mathematics subject in
Term 2 and Term 3 than in Term 1. The differences were also
recorded in Oshindonga first language both in Term 2 and
Term 3 as compared to Term 1. It seemed, however, that both
Oshindonga and English need more improvement to at least
ensure that learners could obtain an A or B symbols. It was,
however, surprising to note that not even a single learner
managed to obtain an A or B symbol in English second-
language. Learners’ general performance in Oshindonga first
language was also not satisfactory. Mostert et al. (2012) found
that teaching materials are important for the development of
the language in schools. If these resources (e.g. textbooks,
technological resources, any print materials) are lacking at
schools, there is no doubt that the learning of any subject
(whether language or content) becomes difficult if not
impossible to learners.
This study confirmed a concern pattern of poor performance
in English, Oshindonga and mathematics for primary
education learners (Chavez 2016). Because of its limited
focus, the study did not investigate why learners performed
poorly in the stated school subjects. It would be important for
further research to be carried out to determine the root causes
of poor performance in English, Oshindonga and mathematics
in Namibian schools. Clearly, this research only focused on
the results based on scaffolding effort that was provided to a
small sample of learners enrolled at Tonateni Centre only.
In mathematics, learners had improved their symbols in the
second and third terms. However, one of the learners did not
pass the subject at the end of the third term. Van Steenbrugge,
Valcke and Desoete (2010) observed that there are some
curriculum topics present difficulties in mathematics, namely,
fractions, long division, time, numerical proportions, scale
and metric system. Most of the participating learners in the
TABLE 5: Mathemacs (N = 12).
Symbols Term 1 %Term 2 %Term 3 %
A 0 0 3 25.0 2 16.7
B2 16.7 2 16.7 2 16.7
C1 8.3 3 25.0 2 16.7
D4 33.3 0 0 2 16.7
E 4 33.3 4 33.3 3 25.0
U 1 8.3 0 0 1 8.3
Total 12 100.0 12 100.0 12 100.0
TABLE 4: English second language (N = 12).
Symbols Term 1 %Term 2 %Term 3 %
A 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
B0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
C2 16.7 3 25.0 5 41.7
D2 16.7 0 0.0 1 8.3
E 3 25.0 4 33.3 5 41.7
U 5 41.7 5 41.7 1 8.3
Total 12 100.0 12 100.0 12 100.0
TABLE 3: Oshindonga rst language (N = 12).
Symbols Term 1 %Term 2 %Term 3 %
A0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
B2 16.7 4 33.3 2 16.7
C3 25.0 4 33.3 4 33.3
D4 33.3 3 25.0 4 33.3
E2 16.7 0 0.0 1 8.3
U1 8.3 1 8.3 1 8.3
Total 12 100.0 12 100.0 12 100.0
TABLE 2: Age and sex (N = 12).
Age Sex Total (%)
Female (%)Male (%)
6‒8 years 42.9 80.0 58.3
9‒12 years 57.1 20.0 41.7
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
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remedial class experienced difficulties in most of those listed
curriculum topics, as seen in their homework books, class
activities and test books.
Even though there could have been some other interventions,
for example, at school or home, the results of remedial
support had shown some positive improvements in the
targeted three subjects. These positive improvements could
be attributed to the fact that the activities given to the learners
at school could have fallen outside their ZPD and these
learners could not get support from the teacher or from one of
their capable peers or support from home to complete their
work. However, Shabani et al. (2010) state that the focus of
teaching should be on school activities inside the ZPD of
which the learner can do or cannot do by him or herself but
has the potential to accomplish the task with the guidance of
others. Cole and Cole (2001) agree that the concept of proximal
development demonstrates the need of support to go slightly
beyond the learner’s current ability and developing his or
her existing ability even further. This idea was clearly
demonstrated and confirmed by participating learners in the
remedial class. Many of the participating learners showed the
need of support to complete their schoolwork and that came
out in their results from Term 1 to Term 3.
Strengths and limitaons
The strengths of this study were demonstrated by the use of
summative and formative assessment results that provided a
baseline to track the progress of the participating learners
from Term 1 to Term 3. This simply means that without
summative and formative assessment, the research could not
have been carried out. Specifically, formative assessment
results guided the remedial support activities and provided
clearly the learners’ areas of difficulty. It was clear to assess
what learners were good at and what they were still in need
of support to overcome the specific learning difficulty. This
research also contributed scientific knowledge on the
importance of remedial teaching to scaffold learners who
seemed left behind. This research provided a good base for
future quantitative research studies to explore more on the
remedial teaching intervention.
Finally, some limitations of this research are that results
should not be generalised to the entire population of learners
who were enrolled at Tonateni Centre; this is simply because
of the small sample size that only included 12 learners who
were specifically selected to be part of remedial class.
Generally speaking, as a faith-based organisation, the idea
behind creating a remedial class was only to support our
vulnerable children and to see them progressing in their
education. The scaffolding effort assisted the targeted
children to move on to the next grade and that was very
important to the organisation as part of its social responsibility.
Implicaons
Results of the remedial class demonstrated that learners
who performed below average had the potential to perform
much better given the necessary support from a capable
adult and peers. Results implied that either teachers used to
give learners tasks without scaffolding them or the tasks
were not within the learners’ ZPDs. Ball, Lubienski and
Mewborn (2001) concur that teachers should try to
understand the content area of difficulties facing their
learners and provide support to those learners who most
need it. The implication of this intervention was that what a
learner performed with support helped the learner to do
better on his or her own in the next terms (Shabani et al.
2010). Results further implied that teachers were either not
implementing remedial teaching at their respective schools
or they were not doing enough to support learners who
needed support the most. Like what Vygotsky (1978)
suggested that by creating a learner’s ZPD we are helping
the learner’s current and future learning.
Conclusion
The study was carried out to scaffold learners who performed
with ungraded symbols in Term 1 in the subjects such as
Oshindonga first language, English second language and
mathematics. The intervention has demonstrated that learners
who performed with ungraded and poor symbols at the end
of their first school term had improved their performance in
Oshindonga, English and mathematics in Term 2 and Term 3.
If well planned and implemented, remedial support
could make a big difference in terms of addressing learners’
learning needs. Further comparative research of two groups
(comparative and control groups) is recommended.
Acknowledgements
The author wishes to thank the Catholic AIDS Action, in
particular, Tonateni Centre in Oshakati for the support
granted during remedial classes with the participants. In the
same vein, the participation of all selected children is highly
acknowledged.
Compeng interests
The author declares that he has no financial or personal
interest that may have inappropriately influenced him in
writing this article.
Authors’ contribuons
S.G.T. was responsible for the entire article. The article is part
of the author’s community service.
Funding informaon
The author acknowledges the support provided by the
Catholic AIDS Action under the After-School Program in
terms of stationeries, a venue and other related materials to
conduct the remedial support to the learners.
Data availability statement
Data for this study are available from the author upon
request.
Page 7 of 7 Original Research
hp://www.sajce.co.za Open Access
Disclaimer
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of
the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy
or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.
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