Determinants of mother tongue use as a medium of instruction in Pre primary schools in Kiharu Division, Murang’a County
Kariuki, Jane Nyambura
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Through this study, the researcher assessed the determinants of mothertongue use and the degree to which it was being used as a medium of instruction in Pre-primary schools. Mothertongue has been said to have a significant role in ensuring successful instruction, more so later in higher levels of education where learning through English and Kiswahili is emphasized. The purpose of this study was to establish the determinants of mothertongue use as language of instruction in pre-primary schools in Kiharu Division of Murang’a East Sub-County, Murang’a County. The following objectives were addressed by the study, to establish the extent of usage of mothertongue as a medium of instruction, to identify the determinants of mothertongue use as a medium of instruction, to find out the effects of mothertongue use as a medium of instruction on learners academic achievement and to establish the challenges facing the use of mothertongue in teaching pre-primary centers in Kiharu Division. The study was guided by the Nativist Theory of Language Acquisition, the Behaviourist and Interactionist Theories. Review of related literature began with reviewing the studies on the extent of mothertongue usage in schools, followed by the determinants of mothertongue use as a medium of instruction ,a review of challenges faced in the use mothertongue as a medium of instruction among others. A descriptive survey study design was employed during the study. Content validity of research instrument was established through expert judgment while reliability was established through Spearman Brown Prophesy. The target population on the other hand included preschool teachers, parents and learners in these schools. Purposive and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the required school and respondent samples. The preferred instruments for data collection were structured questionnaires and interview schedules. The collected data was cleaned, coded and analyzed using the scientific packages for social sciences (SPSS) version 21. The analyzed data was presented using frequencies and percentages. The tables were generated using SPSS while the figures were generated using Microsoft excel 2010. The research revealed that mothertongue was widely used as a medium of instruction as a majority of 100% (n=23) preschool teachers observed that it was used very often. Most of the head teachers 87% (n=20) also observed that mothertongue was being used very often for instruction while 13% (n=3) mentioned that it was being used moderately. Lastly, results from parents indicated that mothertongue was being used very often as a medium of instruction in preschools as a majority of 57% (n=20) observed while 14% (n=5) mentioned that it was used a few times. These results agree with the researchers own observations that in most preschools within Kiharu division, mothertongue is mainly used as a medium of instruction by most teachers. The study also established that availability of materials and parent attitudes were some of the determinants of mothertongue use in preschool. The study also revealed that mothertongue use as a medium of instruction had positive effect on learners’ academic achievement in pre-schools within Kiharu division, Murang'a county Kenya. Therefore the researcher concludes that mothertongue use as a medium of instruction is very important while teaching pre-school learners. It should therefore be employed while teaching in areas where all pre-school learners speak the same language all over the country.