Training of students in oral Language skills for early literacy in colleges of education in Kitwe and Lusaka districts

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Mulenga, Constance
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University of Zambia
Teacher training in oral language skills is very significant as it may lead to the improvement of reading and writing among grade one and two learners. The present study sought to establish whether students in colleges of education were adequately trained to teach oral language skills for early literacy. The study employed the qualitative approach and a case study research design was utilised. A total of 63 respondents were drawn from four Colleges of Education and two primary schools. The data was obtained through interviews, focus discussions, observations and documentary analysis. Descriptive analysis was utilised to analyse the data. The findings revealed that students were not adequately trained in oral language skills. The four colleges of education were not using the same syllabus. Three colleges used the Zambia Primary Course syllabus of 2014 while one college utilised the literature and languages syllabus of 2013. The Zambia Primary Course comprised only two oral language skills; Phonology and Morphology and group/ pair discussions, rhymes, poems, debate, role play and game as the oral language activities. The literature and languages syllabus had phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and discourse analysis as oral language skills without any oral language activities. It was also established that lecturers employed eclectic methods to teach oral skills. Two colleges conducted formative and summative assessments. The other two colleges did not assess oral language skills due to lack of language laboratories, shortage of time and space. The study further established that lecturers needed to engage in continuous professional development in oral language skills. The colleges of education must have competent lecturers to handle oral language skills. The study recommended that, the colleges of education should strengthen teacher training in oral language skills by teaching all the components of oral language skills. The colleges of education should teach oral language skills as a subject on its own as it received little attention due to limited time. The Ministry of High and Tertiary Education should recruit competent personnel to handle oral language skills in some Colleges of Education. All colleges of education should conduct assessments in oral language skills and it should be systematic, extensive and regular.
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Early childhood teachers--In-service training--Zambia