What Happens When Children Speak a Different Language From that of the Teacher in a Learning Setup
Opinde, Judith Atieno
Murungi, Catherine Gakii
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Language Policy in education demands that preschool children be taught in their mother tongue. This is challenging, particularly when the language of the teacher and that of the preschool children are different. Previous research studies both global and local have majorly concentrated on the importance of using mother tongue as the language of instruction in preschool, but do not identify the challenges faced by pre-school teachers in instructing children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The objective of this study was to establish the linguistic diversity among pre-school children entering preschool. The study is anchored on Linguistic relativity theory by Sapir and Whorf (1884-1939) which states that the way people think is strongly influenced by their native languages. This study used a descriptive research design. The study was conducted in Nyakach Sub- County in Kisumu County. The study found that preschool children enrolled into the schools within Nyakach sub-county are linguistically diverse. The challenges faced by teachers of children who do not speak and comprehend the language used by the teachers are; language barrier, limited learning and inactive children in class activities. It is recommended that linguistic diversity be considered when employing pre-school teachers, while in areas and schools with diverse linguistic composition, teachers be equipped with skills to handle diverse learners.