AN ASSESSMENT OF STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE OF AND/OR FAMILIARITY WITH THE DIALECTS OF AFAN OROMO AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO STUDENTS’ LEARNING AND ACHIEVEMENT
The use of students’ native dialect in education is argued to enhance the social, cognitive, emotional and linguistic development of learners’ in and out of school. Thus, it is said that the varieties of language deserve respect and recognition in schools. In addition, students’ awareness and understanding of the different dialects of a language can play a pivotal role in facilitating the students’ learning and improving their performance. Hence, it is important to assess whether or not students know the other dialects of Afan Oromo than their own home dialect. With this regard, the main purpose of this study is to describe students’ experience of and/or familiarity with the dialects of Afan Oromo. To achieve this purpose, descriptive research design was employed. Besides, questionnaire was used to gather the necessary data from Grade 8 students of four dialect areas. The quantitative data gathered via the closed-ended questionnaire was coded and filled into Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS, 16.0). Next, different descriptive statistics such as frequencies and cross tabulation were applied to the SPSS data. From the analysis of the data the study come up with different findings. For instance, the majority of the students (75.6%) in both urban and rural schools of the four dialect areas replied that there were speakers of the other Afan Oromo dialects in their school and/or community. Besides, the majority of the students (86.7%) in the four dialect areas reported that they had a chance to speak with and understand the speakers of the other Afan Oromo dialects. The study also divulged that the majority of the students (70.8%) in the four dialect areas could speak and understand the other dialects of Afan Oromo. From the analysis and discussion made the following were concluded. The study revealed that in some dialect areas students achieved the extent to which they reported they had the knowledge of the other dialects of Afan Oromo. This would mean that having the knowledge of dialects was related to the achievement of the students. This would, in turn, imply that using the dialects which are familiar to students is important for the learning and achievement of students. Hence, it could be argued that the use of the dialects familiar to students could provide educational advantages to learners as the variety is intimate to the students.
Key Words: Achievement, Afan Oromo dialects, Education, Students Experience, Understanding, Home dialects , other dialects, Learning,
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