Learning Science Through The Mother's Tongue In Ethiopian Primary School: Its Scientific Benefits And Challenges

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Dr. Teshome Gudissa Degu


The language of instruction plays a crucial role in the educational development of students and is vital for the realization of communication and understanding between teachers and students. The purpose of this study was to understand teachers' and students' views about the benefits and challenges of learning Science through the mother's tongue in primary schools in Ethiopia. The study was guided by the positivist paradigm. With regards to research design, a cross-sectional survey design was used. 105 teachers and 80 students were taken for the study using simple random sampling techniques. Data collected through questionnaires were organized and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Accordingly, mean, standard deviation and independent sample T-test were used to analyze data. The finding of the study revealed the following benefits when students learn using their mother tongue: do better in science subject exams, confidence when allowed to ask questions, easily learn science concepts, easily understand and develop practical skills, better understand experiments and experimental procedures and learn technical words in science better. The study also identified the following challenges related to using mother tonnage in science classes: lack of sufficient science textbooks, negative attitude towards mother tongue among practitioners, lack of training for teachers on how to use mother tongue as a medium of instruction, and teachers' preferences for English/Amharic to mother tongue. Based on the findings, the recommendation is that teachers and educators need to examine their practices and develop ways to authentically engage and legitimize the use of mother tongue language for science teaching in Ethiopian primary schools.

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