Language of Instruction as A Factor in Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Standard Two Classes in Kasarani Sub-County, Kenya
Njuguna, Catherine Wangechi
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The development of knowledge and skills in mathematics holds the key to African’s industrialization and poverty alleviation in the 21st century. Language plays a central role in teaching and learning of mathematics. The Ministry of Education, Science Technology recognizes the need for Kenyan education system to use the predominant language spoken in the school catchment area for child care, pre-primary and in education of lower primary children. Children learn mathematics well when they are instructed in a language that they understand well. The available studies shows that, in lower primary, learners’ achievement in mathematics is affected negatively when instructed in a language which they do not understand well. The purpose of this study was to establish the language used for instruction in teaching/learning of mathematics, reasons for the choice of language used and the challenges faced by the pupils and teachers that relate to the language used for instruction. The study was carried out in the public schools in Kasarani Sub-County. Public schools were selected because they are funded by the government and therefore there is likelihood that they are uniformly equipped with the learning resources. Simple random sampling was used to select these schools. One class from each of the sampled six schools was used for the study. Six schools, which is equivalent to 24% of the total population, were sampled for the study. A total of 60 class two learners and 6 class two teachers were involved in the study. The learners were divided into two categories: five top and five low achievers from every sampled class. The study utilized descriptive research design. The researcher used two schools which were not involved in the main study to carry out a pilot study. To verify research tools test-retest method was used. The data were collected by means of researcher designed teachers’ questionnaires, learners’ interview guide and an observation guide for a mathematics lesson. Qualitative data were organized according to themes and then teated for descriptive statistics analysis – frequencies and percentages. The findings indicated that teachers did not adhere to the recommended language policy on instructional language in teaching and learning. In the findings various languages were used during mathematics lessons. The study recommends intensive monitoring of implementation of language policy in education.