Adding the Tswana in Botswana: Writing Culturally Sustaining Informational Texts

Lynne M. Kganetso, Xue Qiao, Meghan K. Block

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Culture(s) and lived experience are vital considerations in meaningful learning opportunities for young children. Informational texts are used in daily life and play an important role in schooling, but they are scarcely found and used in classrooms across much of Botswana. Classroom writing experiences tend to differ greatly from children’s everyday experiences, particularly in Botswana’s public schools. The purpose of this study was to examine two genres of culturally sustaining informational texts (informative/explanatory and procedural) written by Standard 2 students in Botswana. Writing samples were collected from 22 children both before and after participation in a unit focused on authentic literacy events using culturally sustaining texts. Content analyses focused on the genre features used within the texts. Writing samples were examined individually for use of genre attributes and for any change in attributes between pre- and post-assessments. Findings indicate that children included more features specific to each genre after participating in the unit. Additionally, many students composed their texts entirely in Setswana or codemeshed using Setswana and English in the post-assessment despite the primary language of instruction being English. This exploratory study could inform practice and research related to young children’s use and creation of informational texts while attending to culture(s) and lived experience.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Culturally sustaining pedagogy
  • Early writing
  • Informational text

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