Students and teachers' experiences of using English as a language of instruction in a public secondary school in Dar es salaam.

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Iffat Farah

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Zeenat Shariff


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Language of instruction debates have been going on in Tanzania for a long time with a tug between making Kiswahili the language of instruction at all levels of education and maintaining English as the language of instruction in post primary institution This study Carried out in a secondary school in Dar es Salaam in a class in their second year of using English as the language of instruction. The study aimed at finding out students’ and teachers’ experiences in using English as a medium of instruction in secondary school and to highlight challenges that teachers and students face daily in their use of English in the classroom and how they cope with these challenges. The study employed a qualitative approach using classroom observation, interviews with teachers and students and document analysis Findings from the study indicate that students and teachers face challenges using the language of instruction and this has led to restrictive use of language where students participate through responding to questions wh1le teachers rely heav1ly on textbooks. Code Switching is often used by teachers in the class for explanation of difficult concepts. While both teachers and students indicated that code switching helped students in understanding, they als0 pointed out that it could compromise performance in examinations il students could not answer exam questions in English. Despite the problems faced by both teachers and students, they sill preferred English as the language of leaning due to the advantages they claimed occurred from using English. These findings support research carried out by other researchers in the field of language of instruction. Moreover, these findings point to compromised learning for the students and a need for support for students and teachers to overcome the challenges, It also suggests that any initiative to change teaching and learning from teacher and textbook centred to student centred cannot be effective without address the issue of language of instruction

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