The what and how in scripted lesson plans: the case of the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy

  • Yael Shalem University of the Witwatersrand
  • Carola Steinberg
  • Hannchen Koornhof
  • Francine De Clercq University of the Witwatersrand


Lesson plans are advocated as useful forms of teacher support because they can expand a repertoire
of teaching practices. But what kinds of scripted instruction can effectively guide and improve
teachers’ instruction and how can lesson plans achieve that? This article examines the nature and
purpose of the scripted lesson plans (SLPs) used in the Gauteng primary education system and then
investigates how teachers enacted these routinised SLPs. Through a review of the literature on
teaching English language and on SLPs, the article assesses the opportunities and challenges
afforded by the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy’s (GPLMS’s) lesson plans
for Grade 3 English as First Additional Language (FAL). Then, through an analysis of an English
FAL lesson taught differently by two teachers, it points to the many professional judgements made
by the teachers as they enact the prescribed teaching routine. Our analysis suggests, firstly, that the
knowledge resources given to teachers need to be considerably more detailed and, secondly, that
teachers need strong subject matter knowledge to transmit the conceptual relations that underlie the
teaching routines of the lesson plan.

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