The importance or significance of local Zambian languages in education, development and mass mobilisation.

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Mkandawire, Sitwe Benson
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The University of Zambia Press
The article was a product of a research conducted to establish the educational value associated with mother tongue based instruction that was familiar to learners verses other languages such as English and local languages that were 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 Nyanja 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 (Nyanja) 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 children could not actively participate in the lessons offered in English language and they were more active in a Nyanja lesson. Furthermore, children could actively participate in answering teacher’s questions by using common Nyanja 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 will easily help pupils to understand teaching points easily and would break into reading and writing skills faster.
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Mother tongue. Local languages. Zambian languages. Familiar language. Literacy instruction. Language of instruction. Familiar language based instruction. Mother tongue based instruction. Zambian languages and development.