Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

A Critical Review of Oral Questioning Technique in Secondary School English Language Teaching in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

A Critical Review of Oral Questioning Technique in Secondary School English Language Teaching in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

The study investigated the extent to which oral questioning, as a teaching strategy, affects the performance of students in English language as a subject in Eldoret Municipality, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. The study employed the mixed methods research design and involved all form three students and hence a sample size of 180 students drawn from six secondary schools within the Municipality, Form three English teachers, heads of the selected schools and education officials in the district. To collect data, the study used questionnaires, interviews, documentary data and non-participant observation. Both qualitative and quantitative data analyses were employed. It emerged that oral questioning as a method of teaching is not being utilized as recommended in secondary schools. The study findings may be a step towards the improvement of the teaching and learning of English in secondary schools, as well as the improvement in general performance in other subjects that rely on English as the language of instruction. It will also assist English teachers utilize the most appropriate resources to ensure English language is effectively taught/learnt and the objectives of teaching these skills are obtained. Subsequently, the performance in English will improve and by extension the performance in other subjects.

Keywords: critical review, oral questioning technique, secondary school English language teaching, Eldoret municipality, Kenya

INTRODUCTION

In Kenya, the poor language proficiency in English by students in secondary schools in the 1990s and the preceding years turned on a spotlight on the teaching and learning of English language (Barasa, 2005). Oladejo (1991) observes that "the major threat comes from lack of professionalism in English as a Second Language (ESL)" (p. 195). Barasa (2005, p. 2) identifies various instances recorded including: the Minister of Education stating that performance in English had deteriorated when announcing the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results for the year 1994 (Daily Nation, March 1, 1995); in its Annual Report for 1991 and 1992, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) states to teachers that "the performance of English remained unsatisfactory" (KNEC Examination Report, 1994, p. 249), and universities voicing concern about receiving first year students who can hardly write, read, and hold discussions in English. The question that one has to answer is: what happens in class at the secondary level that leads to this scenario? What challenges does this state of affairs present to an education system that relies heavily on the use of the English language?

Concerns have also been raised over the discrepancies that exist between theoretical curriculum norms, regulations and expectations, which are the ideals, and actual teaching skills employed by teachers (KNEC, 2004; Barasa, 2005). From the author's practical observation, it seems the way English is being taught in secondary schools within Eldoret Municipality has a bearing on students' overall performance in national examinations. That English teachers either do not adequately apply teaching skills in English as specified by the curriculum of the Ministry of Education (MOE) or do apply it inappropriately. Therefore, the need to link teaching skills, specifically oral questioning, and students' performance in English is a real one.

The problem of this paper, therefore, is to generate information on oral questioning practice of English language teachers in selected secondary schools in Eldoret Municipality. The main purpose is to answer the question: what is the relationship between oral questioning and performance of English in selected secondary schools in Eldoret Municipality?

Centrality of Use of Questions in Teaching English

Questioning is probably one of the most versatile and most readily available techniques in the hands of the teacher (Orlich et al., 1985). For Perrot (1982), "in fact it may well be the most important activity in which the teacher engages [in]. …

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