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

The Impact of Secondary School Teachers' Attitudes and Challenges on the Teaching and Learning of History and Government in Wareng District, Kenya

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

The Impact of Secondary School Teachers' Attitudes and Challenges on the Teaching and Learning of History and Government in Wareng District, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper examines the influence of teachers' attitudes, among other challenges, on the teaching and learning of History and Government in secondary schools based on a study in Wareng District in the North Rift of Kenya. The study adopted a descriptive design, using a population that comprised History and Government teachers of selected secondary schools in the region. Simple and stratified random sampling techniques were used to select a sample of 120 respondents. Questionnaires, interview and observation schedules were used to collect data, and data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results confirm the relationship between attitude and teachers activities. The findings show that the attitude of teachers towards the subject affects their interests, pride, preference in the subject, and allocation of time for the subject, use of instructional materials in teaching, catering for individual learner differences in class and generally enhancing the achievement of objectives of teaching and learning of the History and Government subject in secondary schools. There is therefore need for teachers to develop a positive attitude towards the subject. The study is significant to scholars and other readers as it lays emphasis on importance of the History and Government subject in the social, political and academic development of the learner. This will create a positive perception of the subject by the teachers and learners and enable them to appreciate the subject just as they do with sciences and technical subjects. It will also make teaching of the subject more effective and efficient.

Keywords: impact, secondary school teachers, attitudes, teaching, learning, history, government, Kenya.

INTRODUCTION

History and Government has been identified as an important subject in the education system in Kenya. Its usefulness cuts across society in terms of promotion of development socially, economically and politically. It is essential in development of international consciousness and enhances appreciation of cultures of people of different societies. It is a career subject as it is a pre-requisite to joining professions like Law, Teaching, Anthropology, Political Science, Social Work among others. There is, therefore, a need to lay emphasis on the subject in our schools. However, there are a number of challenges facing the teaching of History and Government. According to Kochhar (1994), one such challenge is the accumulation of facts with little significance attached to these facts in respect to the learner. The History teacher is faced with a challenge of linking knowledge in history to character formation and socialization of the learners (ibid.).

Tonne, Popham and Freeman (1998) have emphasized the failure by History teachers to master communication and consider the target group in their teaching of the subject. The more homogenous the target group (class), the more participative the group will be. If the group is heterogeneous, the teacher may have to use less participative methods and lean more on formal teaching methods (ibid.). Eshiwani (1992), in a research on quality of secondary education in Kenya, has noted the challenge associated with the teaching of subjects (like History), which are perceived by learners as having a minimal contribution to the job-market. History is thus perceived by many students as having little hope for the future of the students since it is not a mandatory subject to courses like medicine, engineering, computer science among others. The writer therefore concludes that it is difficult to convince students that History is essential to their future career development. The History teachers thus find it hard to convince students that the subject is a prerequisite for entry to highly ranked professional courses.

According to the 1988 Presidential Working Party Sessional Paper No. 80 (Republic of Kenya, 1988) on the guiding philosophy on education, the key principles of the education system is to provide skills for effective economic development and foster attitudes for self-employment. …

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