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

An Analysis of the Competence in Literary Criticism among Kenyan Secondary School Students: A Case Study of Wareng' District, Uasin Gishu County

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

An Analysis of the Competence in Literary Criticism among Kenyan Secondary School Students: A Case Study of Wareng' District, Uasin Gishu County

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper is based on a study that examined the level of competence in literary criticism among students in Forms Two, Three and Four, based on the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening in Wareng District of Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. The author argues that students' exposure to literary knowledge and the competent use of figurative language can enhance performance in literature in Kiswahili and the general performance of the Kiswahili subject. The pragmatic theory, which recognizes that practical approach is the core foundation for building competence in whichever field, which then puts students at the centre of the acquisition of competence's process, was used. The theory postulates that any system of education that is in place should be reviewed from time to time in order to be at par with the changes that are witnessed in everyday life. Questionnaires were used to collect data. Data from the questionnaires was analysed using a descriptive method and percentages. The findings showed that students had a lower ability in identifying and explaining the meaning and usage of terminologies that are commonly used during the criticism and analyzing of Kiswahili literature text books. This paper makes recommendations on the structures to mitigate the challenge of competency in literary criticism devices among Kenyan secondary school students. Bearing in mind that society thrives by communication, which is achieved by proper use of language, the study generates useful knowledge to teachers, students and scholars in the literary field on the need to come up with ways of improving competence in literary criticism.

Keywords: acquisition, competence, literary criticism devices, kenyan secondary school students.

INTRODUCTION

The acquisition of competence in literary criticism devices among secondary school students is given time in Form Three syllabus. Up to the time students are in Form Two, they have not been allocated time by the syllabus to learn Kiswahili literature texts that are the bases for the acquisition of literary criticism devices. Eshiwani (1993) and Barasa (2009), among other scholars, have faulted this type of syllabus. They argue that the main interest of such a syllabus is to attain good results at the end of the Form Four examinations. The irony here is that the syllabus, which has very high expectations, does not offer the way or the structures that can lead the teacher and the student to attain the expected results. The moment students are in Form Three, they come across challenges of a wider Kiswahili syllabus that requires them to read literature texts and, at the same time, get acquainted with literary criticism devices. The competence in and use of such devices, such as metaphors and similes among others, becomes a challenge. Students do not yet have the capacity and competence needed in identifying and explaining a metaphor, a simile or the other devices that have a hidden meaning from the Kiswahili literature texts. This is a handicap which reflects negatively in the general performance in Kiswahili as a subject. This paper seeks to come up with a pragmatic approach to a solution and highlights structures that can mitigate and counter the challenges faced by students in their efforts to acquire competence in the literary criticism devices in the Kiswahili literature.

Theoretical Framework

Aggarwal (2003), Farrant (2005), Njogu and Chimera (1999) and Njoroge and Bennars (2004) argue that the type of a theory that shows a connection between literature, development and change is ideal to be associated with educational and basic research. Their school of thought is that if the themes and teachings of literature can have the effects of a revolution and change in any society, such literature has the ability to effect change in a society. Njoroge and Bennars (2004) explain that educational theories are a result of a wider educational research that is meant to mitigate challenges in the field of education. …

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