An Assessment of the Teaching Strategies Employed by English Language Teachers in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya

By Mutai, Nancy Chepkoech | Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, June 2012 | Go to article overview

An Assessment of the Teaching Strategies Employed by English Language Teachers in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya


Mutai, Nancy Chepkoech, Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies


Abstract

This paper assesses the extent to which teaching techniques affect the performance of students in English language as a subject. The study sought to identify the teaching strategies employed by English language teachers in secondary schools and recommend how performance in the subject can be improved in secondary schools within Eldoret Municipality. The study used a mixed methods research by design. It involved all form three students and relied on a sample size of 180 students drawn from six secondary schools within Eldoret Municipality, form three English teachers, heads of the selected schools and education officials in the district. Both probability and non-probability sampling techniques including purposive and stratified random sampling were utilised. The study used questionnaires, interviews, documentary data and non-participant observation for data collection. Both qualitative and quantitative data analyses were employed. The study found that lecture and group discussions are the common methods employed by teachers in their teaching. Debating and drama or role-play is not fully utilized. The study recommends that students, teachers and the Ministry of Education should work together to enhance the attainment of class teaching objectives in the language. The findings of the study may offer a step towards the improvement of the teaching and learning of English in secondary schools hence improvement in performance.

Keywords: assessment, teaching strategies, English language teachers, Eldoret municipality, Kenya

INTRODUCTION

English plays a key role in Kenya's educational system, not only as an important subject but also as the medium of instruction (Barasa, 2005, p. 3). It has been claimed that the model and the norm of the English used in Kenya, apart from pidgin varieties, is the British Standard variety and in particular, Received Pronunciation (RP) (Schmied, 1990; Zuengler, 1982).

Language in education in Kenya has faced and still faces many challenges. The issues often revolve around the place and development of the local indigenous languages (Kioko, 2000; Mbaabu, 1996; Ryanga, 2000); the need and means to strengthen English as it is the national language (Mazrui & Mazrui, 1995; Mbaabu, 1996; Musau, 1999, 2000), and concerns about the usefulness of the English language, its effective teaching and/or its falling standards (Abdulaziz, 1982; Angogo & Hancock, 1980; Kembo-Sure, 1994; Nyamasyo, 1992, 1994). Sometimes the problems have had to do with the competition that the languages have had in the nation and especially in the education system due to the fact that each language was, and still is, associated with a certain social meaning (Mbaabu, 1996; Muthwii, 1994; Whiteley, 1974). For example, English, introduced early in Kenya's colonial history, played a significant role in the growth of nationalism (Crampton, 1986; Whiteley, 1974), a role which it no longer enjoys. It also played and still plays a key role in the country's legal, economic and educational systems.

In the school system, English is not only one of the most important subjects in the curriculum but is itself the medium of instruction. The roots of this significant function of English can be traced back to Kenya's colonial period when it was instrumental to an individual's access to white collar jobs, European thought, and other privileges (Mazrui, 1992; Whiteley, 1974). English was a language with a lot of prestige and power and the British model was unquestionably the one used in Kenya. Kenyans learnt it from the native speakers and unlike Kiswahili, English in Kenya, as in all non-native contexts, was/is largely a taught language, conveyed through formal education.

The issue of how English is taught and acquired is, therefore, very important but this must be looked at in the light of the fact that it is also now a second language in Kenya. The main focus of this paper is the quality of teaching skills that teachers use in class. …

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