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Towards a Paradigm Shift in Educational Research: A Case of Postcolonial Theory
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of fifteen rural primary school teachers on mother tongue education in Masvingo district of Zimbabwe. The paper draws on a larger doctoral study which sought to investigate factors that hinder effective implementation of the 2006 Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) which is meant to benefit primary school pupils by learning through their home language up to Grade 7. The postcolonial theory paradigm guided the study. The article reviews literature on the postcolonial theory with the objective of illustrating how this research paradigm may be employed in the field of education in a postcolonial context. The origin, purpose and relevance of the postcolonial theory are brought to the fore as an advocacy measure meant to sensitise teachers, teacher educators and policy makers in Zimbabwe (as a post colony) on the significance of using the mother tongue in rural primary schools. A case study research design was adopted in which informants were purposively selected to participate in the study. Qualitative data was collected through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions, whereas a thematic analysis was adopted through the use of the constant comparative approach. Findings indicate that all factors associated with implementation failure may be linked to the postcolonial mentality of the English language hegemony. In line with the postcolonial epistemology, participants added their own voices by proposing intervention strategies which they believed would contribute towards their own transformation and hence enable them to embrace the mother tongue education policy. Recommendations were made for policy-makers and relevant university departments.