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‘Standard Shona’ Approach to Teaching ChiShona Abandoned Or Just a Slogan of Hope? A Longitudinal Study of Five Provinces in Zimbabwe
This study was undertaken to establish whether ChiShona teachers in Zimbabwe have abandoned the formerly ‘Standard Shona’ approach to ChiShona teaching. It was conducted in five provinces of Zimbabwe in the years 1997-2016. The study took a qualitative paradigm, with longitudinal study as the method. Interviews and questionnaires were used as instruments of data gathering. The study focused on ChiShona teachers and pupils from both primary and secondary schools. Seven hundred and ninety seven pupils supplied information on questionnaires, while one hundred and forty six teachers were either interviewed or supplied information on questionnaires. Information from fifty eight teachers and two hundred pupils was used in the writing of this report. The study revealed that a significant number of ChiShona teachers from all the five provinces believe that the formerly ‘Standard Shona’ approach to ChiShona teaching has since been abandoned. Paradoxically, the majority of ChiShona teachers who participated in the study confessed that they used the ‘Standard Shona’ approach due to the nature of ChiShona national examinations as well as some challenges they face during the teaching process. Such confessions were reinforced by findings from the pupils. As such, it was concluded that the abandonment of ‘Standard Shona’ approach to ChiShona teaching has not been a total reality but has largely remained a slogan of hope. Resultantly, this has negative implications, particularly in regards to the ChiShona heritage as stored in the so-called ‘minor’ ChiShona dialects. The study, therefore, recommends that education policy makers and curriculum planners should conduct a research study that seeks to monitor and evaluate whether theory is put into practice nationwide. Besides, the study suggests that workshops and refresher courses for ChiShona teachers be conducted. It further recommends that ChiShona teachers should be obligated to know the meaning of unique and authentic ChiShona words from the various ChiShona dialects.