M.phil. Moshi Mussa Kimizi
Ph.D defence , Friday 27th January 2012
Time: 12:15 - 16:00, Auditorium 1, Helga Engs hus, Blindern, Universitetet i Oslo
Title of his Ph.D: Language and Self-Confidence: Examining the Relationship between Language of Instruction and Students' Self-Confidence in Tanzanian Secondary Education.
This study, being predominantly a qualitative research, was part of a larger project ofLanguages of Instruction in Tanzania and South Africa (LOITASA). It was systematically conducted in the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010 in Tanzania at the macro (national), meso (institutional) and micro (individual/group) levels to achieve the following two-in-one major objective: To examine the relationship between the English language of instruction and students’ self-confidence in Tanzanian secondary education, and find out how the use of English as the language of instruction affects the students’ self-confidence in the school context. In order to achieve this main objective, the study centred on two major questions; What is the relationship between English language of instruction and students’ self-confidence in Tanzanian secondary education? And, how does using English as the language of instruction affect students’ self-confidence in Tanzanian secondary schools?
The study was guided by the Critical theory and supported by some concepts from the Qualification Analysis and Education for Self-Reliance theories. In the course of data collection, interviews, observation, questionnaire, memoing, documentation analysis and library survey were used. The phenomenological strategy within the qualitative approach was utilised in data analysis and interpretation. The intended population in the study was the secondary school students in Tanzania Mainland. The sample in the study was drawn from six schools representing all types of secondary schools in Tanzania (see § 5.6.2). The selection of all informants was done through purposeful sampling criteria. A few government employees (12 of all 60 respondents) were also involved in the study for interviews only.
In this study, the most significant research finding was the loss of students’ self-confidence in various aspects of education due to the continued use of a foreign language (English) as the medium of instruction in post-primary education, particularly at the secondary education level in Tanzania. It was observed that the use of English as the language of instruction in Tanzanian secondary schools leads to a great loss of students’ self-confidence in many aspects including academic discussions, debates, subject clubs, and school assemblies. Above all, students lose their self-confidence in the process of teaching and learning, and their understanding of lessons and subject-content remains uncertain. This in turn, according to this research, leads to lack of development of students’ creative qualifications, lack of students’ self expression, lack of students’ decision-making, lack of students’ critical thinking ability and lack of students’ academic self-reliance (e.g. cheating in exams as it was noted in some quotes by student-respondents). The findings revealed that all psychological behaviours grounded from the ‘self’-constructs stagnate among students due to the continued use of English as the medium of education in secondary schools.
Following the research conclusions, the study recommends a changing tide for rethinking, decision, and taking action to bring about change and development in the entire education system, particularly at the secondary education level in Tanzania. Such a change should not only be inevitable, but also imperative. No society in the world has developed in a sustained and democratic fashion on the basis of a borrowed or foreign language. To avoid a rampant behaviour of cheating in exams which results from students’ failure to think critically and independently due to the loss of their self-confidence in the process of teaching/learning, the government should take measures to mobilise and educate the general public about the importance of teaching using Kiswahili (national language) as opposed to English (foreign language). This can be successfully addressed through some potential non-governmental organisations such as Haki-Elimu, TEN-MET, Policy-Planning, etc. and also through public assemblies as well as in churches and mosques.
Key words: language, self-confidence, language of instruction, students’ self-confidence, secondary education, Tanzania, phenomenological strategy, education for self-reliance, critical theory.