An investigation of the instructional practices used by teachers to teach reading and writing in mother-tongue in selected schools from three divisions of Kitui district
Munyasia, M. Hellen
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This study is an investigation into the various practices and methodologies employed by the teachers of mother-tongue in three divisions of Kitui District. Although mother-tongue (i.e Kikamba) as a subject in the primary school curriculum for the first three years of schooling, it has been observed largely that most school leavers aren't proficient in the reading and writing in mother-tongue. Many prefer reading English texts, especially the Bible, a language which they are also deficient in. This study is an attempt to find out whether this language deficiency and negative attitudes stems from the methods/practices employed in teaching the language. The study was guided by the broad assumptions that acquisition of taught materials by the leaner is dependent on: (i) Practices/methods employed by the teacher (ii) Quality of the teacher in terms of training and experience. (iii) Availability and use of resource materials. From the review of related literature it was evident that mother-tongue is an essential component of any curriculum (Pattanyak, 1989). Experience in teaching is also an added advantage to training according to Proctor (1995). Simple survey was carried by use of a questionnaire distributed to thirty two (32) teachers and an observation schedule where by four (4) teachers were seen in the classroom teaching mother-tongue. Information gathered was analysed and the findings were used to confirm or refute the assumptions posed by the researcher. The researcher found out that: (i) Majority of the teachers handling mother-tongue are adequately trained and have a long experience. (ii) Most of them prepare schemes of work and lesson plans. (iii) Most classes were over-enrolled due to either lack of teachers or rooms to create an extra stream. (iv) Teaching resources especially the mother-tongue text book was either unavailable or inadequate in all schools. (v) There was unfair competition from the second languages: English and Kiswahili which were being favoured by the school languages policies. (vi) That dialectal problems exist between the local spoken variety and what is found in written text (Machakos dialect) hence posing a set back to the learners. The researcher recommended the following suggestions as a means of minimising the problems encountered while teaching mother-tongue: (a) Frequent seminars or in-service for teachers of mother-tongue. (b) Establishment and availability of the recommended class texts and class readers in mother-tongue. (c) Setting up of language panels which would work to standardize the teaching and testing of mother-tongue. (d) Close follow-up of the progress of the teaching of mother-tongue to eliminate the negative attitudes towards it.