This dissertation builds on and contributes to work in the field Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT) in Grade 3. In South Africa, learners in Grade 3 are taught in African languages in township schools. In urban schools, the LoLT is English, whereas the schools are multicultural, and many learners do not have English as their home language. In Grade 4, there is subject teaching and the LoLT is English.
The purpose of this study is to explore how South African teachers manage the learners’ language transition from Grade 3 into Grade 4. This was a qualitative research. Two schools (township and urban) were sampled. Data was collected through individual interviews, a focus group discussion (a small number  of teachers from an urban school), and classroom observation (one Grade 3 and one Grade 4 classes in a township school).
The article drew strongly on the work of Pretorius (2014) who found that learners in township schools struggle when they transition into Grade 4. Whereas in urban schools the article will focus on the work of O’Connor and Geiger (2009), who state that bi-or multi-lingual learners attend school in a language that is not their home language. The study developed the conceptual framework from the socio-cultural environment of the learners from Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory.
The findings revealed that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) provides sufficient Teacher and Learner Support Materials (LTSM). The responses revealed that the participating teachers did not have the strategies on how to manage learners’ language transition from Grade 3 into Grade 4.