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Reading culture a prerequisite for teachers

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Added 5th September 2019 02:42 PM

Teachers need to do as much reading and writing as possible because children are their mirror reflection

Reading culture a prerequisite for teachers

Teachers need to do as much reading and writing as possible because children are their mirror reflection

 
By Frank Obonyo
 
The 2018 Uganda National Examinations Board findings of the Achievement of Learners and Teachers in Numeracy and literacy in English in Uganda are deplorable.
 
The findings, published in New Vision, dated Wednesday, August 28, 2019, says that teachers face difficulties in writing an informal letter with the correct format, a composition with adequate content and using debating language.
 
The report recommends that there is need to re-activate debates in primary schools and Primary Teachers' Colleges with emphasis on debating language and letter writing.
 
At Uganda Christian University, Writing and Study Skills, is one of the mandatory courses studied by all our students, regardless of their specialty. We believe all professionals need writing skills such as; minute taking, writing a CV, memo, eulogy, report and many other official written forms of communication.
 
The preamble of this book identifies mother tongue interference as one of the major obstacles to good academic and official writing. It says that we tend to think in our mother tongue and then directly translate our thoughts into the English language. Expressions such as; what do they call you? Or your name is who? Instead of the Standard English, " What is your name?" are very common. This is a typical African style of asking a person's name.
 
In most Ugandan languages, the answer to the question above would be, "my names are… or I am known by the names…" The Standard English would be "My name is…." regardless of whether one, two or three names are lined up. Other examples in the book, which are so common are; "I am taking dry tea" to mean "Chai mukalu in Luganda" instead of black tea, "You are lost instead of "I haven't seen you in a long time"
 
Teachers need to do as much reading and writing as possible because children are their mirror reflection. They should desist from such interferences and transfers. Good command of the English language can be enriched through the provision of suitable reading materials in schools and supporting teachers and children to develop a consistent reading pattern.
 
In this era of new media and technological advancement, teachers should develop the habits of reading books and other published literature because this will increase vocabulary; sharpen memory and creativity. Both parents and teachers need to promote a reading culture and listening to informative programs as; Focus on Africa or Network Africa on BBC World Service.
 
As a parent, you are the first and foremost teacher of your child. When parents and teachers are involved in their children's schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school. Most rural schools perform miserably because there is no cordial relationship between a teacher and a parent.
 
When your child is at school, endeavour to meet his or her teacher. Let the teacher know you are in support of your child's better performance. Make it clear that you want the teacher to contact you if any problems develop with your child.
 
Just like the American poet and scientist, William Arthur Ward said, the mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires. A teacher should be inspiring and creative enough to make learning interesting. Most of us chose subject combinations and took career paths our ‘great' teachers exposed us to.
 
There is a need to revise the current curriculum to meet the latest challenges and opportunities. In secondary schools, for example, I suppose topics such as British Columbia, The Canadian Prairies, Vienna Congress, and many others are still on the curriculum. I am not taking these topics with disdain, but are they relevant to an African child, even if we are living in a global village?
 
The Writer is the Communications Officer, Uganda Christian University

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