Building Vocabulary in English: a critic of lower primary teachers' exploitation of learners' mother tongue experiences in Kabarole
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The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of mother tongue in building vocabulary in English as a second language in lower primary grades in Kabarole District. A case study research strategy was used in the study, following a qualitative approach. This included the use of structured questionnaires, interview guide, field notes and observation guide in order to get in-depth and balanced data to address the research questions. It was found out that the most common instructional materials used in teaching/learning of English in lower grades were charts and textbook illustrations. Teachers of English in lower grades prepared instructional materials for all lessons with content that is familiar to the learners but with no opportunity to participate in the same since all the work was done by the teacher. Teachers of English used child-centred approaches of teaching/learning which called for high pupil participation and interaction during lessons. It was also noted that only gifted learners and those with high self-esteem had chance to benefit from the said approaches mainly because teachers lacked expertise to manage large classes for effective teaching/learning. Lessons had content that was from within the learners’ environment. Teachers mostly employed the Direct Method in teaching/learning of English and activities were given out to learners as presented in pupils’ textbooks. The researcher recommends that Kabarole District Education Department should organise refresher courses to retool teachers of English in lower grades with skills of handling large classes for increased learner participation. Centre Coordinating Tutors and District inspectors of schools should intensify supervision of the teaching/learning in lower grades so that they can identify the challenges teachers face as they execute their duties. This will help in addressing challenges related to handling large classes. Head teachers should allocate more teachers to lower grades to provide support to teachers of English, especially during the teaching/learning process as one way of boosting meaningful learner involvement in lessons. Teachers of English in lower grades should involve learners in making instructional materials so that their knowledge in Runyoro-Rutooro can help them to learn English.