Language, learning and textbooks: findings from baseline survey of Form 1 students and teachers

Author(s): Barrett, Angeline M.

Date: 2014

Pages: 4 p.


The majority of Form 1 students, in their first year of secondary education, are not ready to use English for academic purposes. Textbooks do nothing to help. Form 1 textbooks that claim to be designed for the Tanzanian syllabus are unreadable by most Form 1 students. They take no account of the well-known fact that the majority of lower secondary students in Tanzania, who had their primary education through the medium of Kiswahili, are not proficient in English. The textbooks use difficult language, long sentences and have whole pages of dense text. Fluent English speakers at the same stage in their education would struggle to read many Tanzanian textbooks. This brief provides main findings from LSTT’s baseline survey of 420 students and 63 teachers in 21 schools. LSTT also analysed the readability of a selection of Form 1 textbooks for Biology, English and Mathematics.

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