Reclaiming the space for storytelling in Ugandan primary schools

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The purpose of this article is to highlight teachers’ beliefs and practices towards storytelling in the mother tongue in Ugandan rural classrooms and the effect this could have on efforts to promote reading, such as the mother-tongue (MT) education programme in Uganda and the African Storybook Project (ASb). The article demonstrates that although there are initiatives to promote storytelling in the mother tongue in Ugandan primary schools to enhance reading and literacy acquisition, teachers are not prepared for the task and, therefore, disregard storytelling in the mother tongue. This disregard of storytelling in the mother tongue stems from the fact that teachers view storytelling as a waste of time, time that can rather be spent on ’real’ lesson content. Furthermore, they feel that storytelling adds unnecessary pressure to their already demanding workload. Moreover, learners are not assessed for storytelling at the end of their primary education. In addition, teachers are not trained on how to integrate storytelling in their teaching practices. The article presents classroom-based research which highlights teachers’ practices towards storytelling. The article ends with a request for ethnographic fieldwork to educate teachers on the social-cultural values of storytelling beyond learner assessments (among other benefits) and to facilitate teachers on how to integrate stories in the learning process.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Per Linguam: a Journal of Language Learning= Per Linguam: Tydskrif vir Taalaanleer