Familiar Language Based Instruction Versus Unfamiliar Language for the Teaching of Reading and Writing Literacy Skills: A Focus on Zambian Languages and English at Two Primary School in Lusaka
Mkandawire, Sitwe Benson
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The article is a product of a research conducted to establish the educational value associated with mother tongue based instruction that is familiar to learners verses other languages such as English and local languages that are not familiar to learners as medium of instruction in the teaching of reading and writing literacy skills to grade one at primary level. This was a case study under qualitative research design of post-positivism knowledge generation paradigm. Data was collected from 67 respondents from two primary schools where at one school they used Cinyanja as medium of instruction while at another school they used English language. The specific methods used to collect data were done through interviews, focus group discussions and observation of lessons. Some documents were also reviewed on the study related to the topic at hand. The study revealed that both Zambian languages (Cinyanja) and English language played a significant role in literacy education as they both facilitated learning to some pupils and they were also a hindrance to some pupils. However, it was noted that learners could not actively participate in the lessons offered in English language and they were more active in a Cinyanja lesson. Furthermore, learners could actively participate in answering teacher’s questions by using common Cinyanja spoken in towns and cities when playing and not the chewa taught in schools. It was recommended that teachers at primary school level teaching grade ones should use multiple languages by translating statements, words and phrases from one language to the others which are spoken by pupils in class. This would easily help pupils to understand teaching concepts easily and are likely to break into reading and writing skills faster.
The University of Zambia Press
SubjectLiteracy Instruction, Familiar Language, Mother Tongue Education, Second Language, Importance of Mother Tongue, Significance of Local Languages
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