Effects of transition of language of instruction on learner centered teaching in grade five in selected rural primary schools in Chipata district, Zambia.

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Muchelemba, Anslow
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University of Zambia
The purpose of this study was to establish the effects of transition of language of instruction (L.O.I) on learner centred teaching in grade five in selected rural primary schools in Chipata district, Zambia. The objectives of the study were: to determine how the transition of L.O.I from Nyanja to English, affects learner participation in a learner centred classroom, language practices teachers and learners used in the classroom in order to successfully interact and transmit knowledge and to establish the learner centred practices/techniques as used in the classroom. The study used mainly qualitative method and just in few instances used quantitative for validation purposes. The research instruments were interview guide, questionnaire, Focus group discussion, observation check list and document analysis schedule. Study area comprised 19 rural government schools. The sample size was 220 participates and these were 30 grade five teachers, 3 head teachers, 186 grade five learners and 1 senior education standards officer for languages - Eastern province. Purposive sampling and simple random sampling were used to select participates. Findings of the study indicated that transition of language of instruction from Nyanja to English revealed that most learners were passive when English was used as a L.O.I. The other finding was that to counteract the language barrier created by the English language the teachers and the learners used code-switching, code mixing, interpretation and reciprocity as language practices to interact and transmit knowledge successfully from the teacher to learners. The other finding was that when English was used learner centred teaching was used at a low level or was not used at all and this was mostly in during class discussion were the teacher. When English was used in group work it slowed the lesson since learners had to move as a team, because while learners shared opinions they had to teach each other new vocabulary and use of English as L.O.I during assessment gave lower results in comparison to Nyanja assessments. The study recommends that policy makers should not pronounce the transition of language of instruction based on number of years but must be based on the learners’ proficiency. At primary school level, English hegemony be removed and Zambian language and English be used as complementary languages of instruction so that learner centred teaching is enhanced. Key words: effects, transition, learner centred, language of instruction
Native language and education--Zambia