Efficacy of English Taught in Lower-Primary to be Used as a Medium in Upper-Primary
The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of primary one English lesson in enabling students to use English as a medium of instruction in upper primary schools in Ethiopia. The participants of the study were grade five students and their English language teachers. Cross sectional and descriptive research design was chosen. Classroom observation check list, teacher made tests and interview were used as main data gathering tools. The study showed that, the students' comprehension level was very low; about 70% of them scored less than the average. In the listening skill test, 84.3% of the students scored below the average, and 39.8% of them scored zero. Though the students performed relatively better in note taking, their scores were still less than the average; about 54.5% of them scored below the average. A correlation statistics showed that there was significant difference r = -0.48 in the note taking skills of the students in the three sample schools, but the variation in reading and listening comprehension was not significant. There was no significant variation between gender and language skills. The students’ scores, however, significantly varied in different language skills: reading*listening (r = 0.62), reading*note taking (r = 0.59) and listening*note taking (r = 0.56). A classroom practice observation showed that majority (83.33%) of the teachers were using English as a medium of instruction, but 100% of the observed teachers often shifted from English medium to Amharic, which actually is not the mother tongue to most of the students. In a similar observation of students performances in classroom activities, it was found out that majority of the students could not reasonably use English as a medium. The effectiveness of English language taught as a subject in grades 1-4 is highly questionable since majority of the students had difficulties when the language was used as a medium in grade five.
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