The effects of the learning enviroment on the development of pupils' reading skills in English: The case of Grade three classes in selected public and private schools in Mufulira and Lusaka urban Districts
Njapau, Georginah S
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The study was mainly focused on Learning to Read in English in Different Environments. The study addressed itself to the two major questions. These were: a) in what environment does the Grade 3 learner in public and private schools learn how to read in English? b) how is reading in English taught in both sets of the schools? This was a case study of selected public and private schools in Lusaka and Mufulira urban districts, Zambia. The population of the study comprised all the Grade 3 learners at the selected schools. The main research tools used in the study were reading tests, semi-guided interviews, focus group discussion guide and a check list for lesson observation. It involved both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A qualitative approach was used in order to probe several issues and to get deep insights of how reading in English was taught; tests were used to determine learners' performance in reading. The qualitative data was analyzed through the identification of common themes from the respondents, descriptions and presentation of their experiences. Later, conclusions were reached and analyzed with reference to research questions on which the study was based. Quantitative data was analyzed using a t-test to compare the reading levels between learners in public basic and private schools. The findings seem to indicate that learners in private schools have conducive learning environment for learning how to read in English. This was evidenced by the learner's performance in the reading tests. The study found out that public basic schools do not use the recommended PRP, while private schools use most of the PRP features. Teachers and learners in public schools did not have enough teaching and learning materials. Most teachers in public schools wrote part of the stories on the board for learners to practice reading. The study further established that learners in public schools did not read according to their reading levels. However, learners in private schools were able to read effectively. The study concluded that it's not only a rich language policy which the government of Zambia changed which can make learners read according to their levels, but more is needed in the environment. Learners in private schools read better than their counterparts in public basic schools due to a number of facts: teaching and learning materials, time spent on reading, good conducive environment, and parental support. It is therefore desirable that public schools improve in the teaching of reading by providing appropriate teaching and learning materials, spending enough time on reading in class and at home, and providing a conducive environment. The study therefore, made the following recommendations: There is need for the Ministry of Education to provide enough desks, learning and teaching materials. School administrators should encourage parents to be more actively involved in their children's welfare.
- Education