Influence of mother tongue (Chope) on teaching and learning in science education: a Mozambican study about fundamental electrical concepts

Baquete, Aguiar Muambalane
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This research report investigates the influence of Chope (a native Mozambican language) on the teaching and learning of fundamental electric' concepts. Two research instruments were used: a written task and an interview. The written task investigated students' understanding, in Chope and Portuguese (the instructional language), of twenty fundamental electric concepts, as well as translations of scientific sentences about electricity from Portuguese to Chope. The interview was used as an auxiliary instrument to better understand procedures used in the written task. The study showed that Chope as prior knowledge can be understood in three ways: (1) as a positive influence when knowledge acquired through Chope is scientifically acceptable; (2) as a negative influence when a Chope "definition" hinders understanding of an electric concept; and (3) as an auxiliary agent in the understanding of the precise meanings of electrical terms. There are however other influences such as childhood environment and common usage.
A research report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (by coursework and research report) in the School of Science Education of the University of the Witwatersrand. March 1998