Challenges of Using Icibemba in the Learning of Initial Literacy in Selected Primary Schools in Serenje District of Zambia: An Analysis of Views of Teachers and Learners
The purpose of this study was to establish views and investigate challenges faced by teachers and learners in the use of Icibemba in teaching initial literacy in primary schools in Serenje district. A descriptive research design supported by qualitative data collection techniques was employed. A purposive sampling procedure was used to select all the participants giving the study a sample size of 56 comprising of 40 grade four learners and 16 of their teachers sampled from 10 primary schools. Researchers decided to have more learners in this study since they were the direct beneficiaries of the curriculum. And thus the need to have a wider view from them. This was also done so as to have enough participants from each school. Data was collected through interviews, focus group discussions and classroom observations of literacy lessons. Lesson observation was used to get first hand information on the learning experiences and helped the researchers to triangulate with what participants expressed during interviews and focus group discussions. Focus group discussions and interviews enabled participants to provide their detailed views of the exact situation learners and teachers encountered. Thematic analysis was used to analyze all the data. It involved organizing data through use of open, axial and selective coding before presenting the emerging themes. The findings revealed that although the Ministry of General Education zoned Serenje district under Icibemba instead of Icilala in teaching initial literacy, learners’ performance was low because the language used in school was unfamiliar to learners. Additionally, findings also showed that there was a lack of teacher’s guide books and learners’ text books to use in teaching initial literacy hence teacher’s delivery of lessons was negatively affected. Researchers concluded that learners performed poorly in literacy due to the fact that the zoned language was unfamiliar to learners in that area where it was used as a medium of teaching literacy. It is therefore recommended that the Ministry of General Education through the Curriclum Development Center should develop and produce and distribute learning materials for the teaching of literacy in grades one to four. Furthermore, lessons for literacy should be taught using concrete and real teaching and learning resources that can enhance learning. Additionally, there is a need to start thinking about the possibility of rezoning the whole country.