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Exploring Teachers' Reading Competences: A South African Case Study

Open Learning Volume 21, Number 1, ISSN 0268-0513


The purpose of this study is to investigate the reading competence of teachers who are enrolled in a distance education programme in a South African university. Many South African teachers upgrade their teaching diplomas by enrolling for a part-time, distance degree at a university. However, many are not prepared for academic study and its focus on reading to learn. Many of them struggle to read to learn, which is ironic given the fact that distance learning has a strong focus on learning from texts. The study used the cloze procedure to measure reading competence. The study shows that more than a third of the teachers are reading an ordinary academic text at frustration level, and that there is a strong correlation between reading competence and academic achievement on the course. The implications are that course writers need to support and scaffold students' learning so that they can access the original reading with understanding. It also means that although distance education is traditionally seen as a way of opening access to students, their weak reading competences are likely to militate against them achieving success.


Bertram, C. (2006). Exploring Teachers' Reading Competences: A South African Case Study. Open Learning, 21(1), 5-18. Retrieved June 19, 2019 from .

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