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"It's like going fishing without a fishing-net": a study on how students in Tanzania perceive the transition of language of instruction from Kiswahili to English.
Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to contribute to previous research on the subject of language transition in Tanzania. The aim is also that the information gained in this study can be used to improve students' prospects when they undergo the linguistic transition from primary school to secondary school. This is a qualitative study with quantitative elements, using method triangulation, which examines how students experience the linguistic transition from Kiswahili to English and how it affects them. The study also highlights the students' own opinions about which language they would prefer as the language of instruction in secondary school.

Relevant information about the history of Tanzania and the linguistic situation in the country are outlined. Previous research on the subject is also presented. The two theories that are used are Bourdieu’s social theory and Said's theory of Orientalism. The study uses focus groups and surveys in oder to answer the questions at hand. The research itself is conducted in two government schools in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The three questions at issue are as follows:

Do the students feel that they have sufficient knowledge of English in order to be ready for the transition of the language of instruction from Kiswahili to English in secondary school?

How do the students perceive that the transition of languages affects their performance in school and in their future?

If the students had the opportunity to choose, which language would they prefer as the language of instruction in Secondary school in Tanzania?

The conclusions are that the students feel that the linguistic transition is difficult and that they lack sufficient knowledge of English. Although several of the students struggle with the vocabulary and the pronunciation, they feel that English is the path to higher education and a good job. These are contributing factors to the fact that the majority of the students prefer English as their language of instruction in secondary school, to their own national language, Kiswahili.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 78 p.
Keyword [en]
tanzania, language of instruction, focus groups, bourdieu´s social theory, said´s orientalism, code-switchin, secondary schools
National Category
Learning Pedagogy Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-11873OAI: diva2:706724
Subject / course
Educational program
Teacher Education


Available from: 2014-06-10 Created: 2014-03-21 Last updated: 2014-06-10Bibliographically approved

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