Examining aspects of linguistic knowledge of anglophone primary school teachers of north west province of Cameroon in relation to children's literacy achievement
Ghong, Mary Njang
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Literacy is an important phenomenon in all societies today. Nations around the world put in a great deal of effort and allocate a lot of funding for educational purposes to improve literacy rates of children and to help them to become literate citizens so that they can function better in society. Studies of teacher education in the United States have shown that many of the in-service teachers lack the basic foundation of linguistic constructs needed to improve literacy skills in elementary classrooms. Further, it has been shown that students who were taught by teachers with a linguistic background performed better on reading, writing, and spelling skills than those children who were taught by teachers without such a linguistic background. These studies have recommended better teacher training programs that incorporate classes to specifically teach linguistic constructs. However, there are various factors that may affect literacy development in school children, such as family background and number of books available at home. The majority of these studies have been conducted in the United States and what is true for the U.S. may not be true for other countries. The purpose of this study is to examine the linguistic knowledge of elementary classroom teachers and how it impacts children?s achievement in literacy skills in the North West region of Cameroon where English is the predominant language of instruction in schools. Data were collected from 100 primary school teachers and 200 third grade children from the rural and urban regions, then analyzed using independent t-tests at a 0.05 level of significance. Overall the teachers exemplified a lack of linguistic knowledge; however, when comparing rural to urban, the urban teacher?s linguistic knowledge was significantly higher. Similarly, the children?s results also revealed a higher performance rate from the urban children. Based on the results it is recommended that teacher preparatory programs should foster content and pedagogic expertise and include essential features in literacy instruction. The quality of teachers teaching in the primary schools is important and the Ministry of National Education in Cameroon should ensure a better teacher education program that can prepare confident and knowledgeable teachers.