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Report on reading in English in primary schools in Malawi - Education Research Paper No. 04, 1993, 56 p.

Table of Contents

E Williams
University of Reading
April 1993

Serial No. 4
ODA Research Project 4770
ISBN: 0902500643

Overseas Development Administration


This is one of a number of Occasional Papers issued from time to time by the Education Division of the Overseas Development Administration. Each paper represents a study or piece of commissioned research on some aspect of education and training in developing countries. Most of the studies were undertaken in order to provide informed judgements from which policy decisions could be drawn, but in each case it has become apparent that the material produced would be of interest to a wider audience, particularly but not exclusively those whose work focuses on developing countries.

Each paper is numbered serially, and further copies can be obtained through the ODA's Education Division, 94 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5JL, subject to availability.

Although these papers are issued by the ODA, the views expressed in them are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the ODA's own policies or views. Any discussion of their content should therefore be addressed to the authors and not to the ODA.

Eddie Williams may be contacted at: The Centre for Applied Language Studies, PO Box 218, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 2AA, U.K.

Table of Contents

Summary and recommendations

1. Introduction: English and primary education in Malawi

2. Malawi: Primary education

2.1 Structure
2.2 General background
2.3 Statistical information
2.4 Teacher training

3. Reading and language learning

3.1 Definition of reading
3.2 Second and foreign language learning
3.3 Learning to read in a foreign language
3.4 The testing of reading

4. Description of the project

4.1 Aims of the project
4.2 Project timetable outline
4.3 The initial field trip
4.4 Final test instruments
4.5 Sample of schools
4.6 Data structure for tests

5. Resources in schools visited

5.1 Overall impression
5.2 Descriptions of individual schools

6. Approaches to reading in Malawi primary schools

6.1 The current syllabus
6.2 The new revised syllabus
6.3 Time allocation to English
6.4 Reading in teacher training colleges
6.5 Reading in Chichewa
6.6 Observations of reading lessons
6.7 Comments on lessons observed

7 Results of English reading test "Word Find" and Chichewa test

7.1 The interpretation of results of Word Find
7.2 Results by school and year
7.3 Subtest scores
7.4 Overall comments on word find results
7.6 Results of Chichewa reading test, Chewa V.01
7.7 Correlation of English test results with Chichewa test results
7.8 Significance of Sex, Urban/rural, School Year, And Home Language
7.9 Relationship between factors in educational provision and scores

8. The read aloud tests

8.1 Procedure
8.2 Administration
8.3 Describing reading performance
8.4 Rationale for the questions
8.5 Example of read aloud transcript
8.6 Findings of the read aloud testing
8.7 Reading aloud: Assessment sheet, School P

9. Testing reading in Malawi primary schools

9.1 The Standard 8 primary school leaving certificate
9.2 Monitoring reading achievement at national level

10. Conclusion and suggestions for improvements

References and select bibliography


Appendix A: Structure of education system, Malawi

Appendix B: Methods of teaching initial reading

Appendix C: The testing of reading abilities

Appendix D: Read aloud test

Appendix E: Word find reading test: Extracts

Appendix F: Extracts from "English in Malawi"

Appendix G: Lesson transcript

Appendix H: Standard 8 primary school leaving certificate examination (extract from 1990 paper)

Appendix I

Appendix J: Descriptive statistics for Chichewa reading test

Appendix K: Significance testing (english (word find) and chichewa tests)

Appendix L: Read aloud score sheets by school