This action research was conducted in Ilesa-East Local Government Education Area (LGEA) of Osun State in South West Nigeria. The state is homogeneous with Yoruba language as the Mother Tongue (MT). The focus of the research was to empower school teachers through cluster-school based training to teach and administer the primary school curriculum particularly reading and writing in the Mother Tongue and at the same time teach English as a school subject in grades level one to three. In all, thirty schools were covered with 169 teachers and the LGEA officers as participants. Other stakeholders included the executives of Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) of each participating school. The target participants i.e. teachers in levels 1-3 were mentored and coached by the researchers/facilitators on writing and reading skills and technical skills of lesson preparation and presentation in the Mother Tongue (Yoruba language) and English. By the end of the research which spanned about three years, noticeable and positive changes such as participatory learning and teaching, promotion of critical and creative thinking, and ability to produce effective teaching aids were noted. The use of the MT for teaching encouraged reflective teaching. Active and successful learning took place in the classrooms. The research concluded that when pupils are taught through the mother tongue medium, they perform better in all subjects including English than pupils who are taught through English.
Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Educational Administration and Planning, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria