Doctoral Dissertation

13.8.2018 M.Phil. Pamela February (Facul­ty of Educa­tion and Psychology, Psychology)


13.8.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Muu , Ruusupuisto, RUU Helena
M.Phil. Pamela February defends her doctoral dissertation in Psychology "Teaching and Learning to Read in Afrikaans: Teacher provision and computer-assisted support". Opponent Professor Per Henning Uppstad (University of Stavanger) and Custos professor Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

pamela-february.jpgThis thesis is in the form of a monograph consisting of three distinct, but related studies. The three studies examined Grade 1 teachers’ knowledge and perceptions of reading instruction in classrooms in Namibia; and the use of GraphoGame in Afrikaans as a digital learning tool and as an intervention tool for struggling readers.

Three data sets were collected: teachers (N = 132), children (N = 202) and struggling readers (N = 19). The results offered three main findings. First, the results revealed that teachers lacked basic knowledge regarding language and reading instruction. Second, the effect of using the GraphoGame Afrikaans digital reading tool in the classroom showed that the gain scores of the learners who played GraphoGame Afrikaans were higher than those of learners who formed the two control groups (i.e. the GraphoMath group who played a digital mathematics tool and the no-treatment control group) in reading skills.

Additionally, the results revealed that the two groups that played a digital game (GraphoGame Afrikaans or GraphoMath Afrikaans) during the intervention phase showed higher gains than the control group that did not play. The results also revealed that playing GraphoGame Afrikaans for an extended period vastly improved the reading skills of struggling readers.

The evaluation of the struggling readers’ motivation revealed mixed results. Although the learners themselves had a strong self-concept and a high regard for their classroom tasks, their classroom teachers observed that they tended to avoid tasks in which they struggled.

When one considers the learners’ high self-concept and motivation, which show that struggling learners have strengths, there is much hope for Namibian children’ reading acquisition.

The qualifications of Pamela February include a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) and a Masters in Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Special Needs Education. She was a Mathematics and Science teacher for 19 years, before working for the Ministry of Education in Adult Education. She moved to the University of Namibia where she has been a lecturer since 2002. She teach modules in Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education.

Publishing information:
February, Pamela J. Teaching and learning to read in Afrikaans: Teacher competence and computer-assisted support. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, 2018, 142 p.
(JYU Dissertations ISSN 2489-9003; 5) ISBN 978-951-39-7515-9 (PDF)

For more information:

Pamela February, pfebruary@unam.na, p. 061-2063979

Communications Manager Liisa Harjula, liisa.harjula@jyu.fi, p. 040 805 4403