Instructional methods used in teaching oral skills in English in selected secondary schools in Nairobi County
Maina, Purity Nyang'endo
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English is taught as a compulsory subject in secondary schools in Kenya and is also the language of instruction. The English syllabus outlines the activities and methods that can be used to develop oral skills. This study sought to investigate instructional methods used in developing oral skills in English in selected secondary schools in Nairobi County. The objectives upon which this study was based were: To identify the instructional method used in the form two classroom to enhance oral skills as outlined in the English syllabus; identify resources available for teaching oral skills; establish factors that inhibit the use of instructional methods in teaching and learning of oral skills and explore the effectiveness of instructional methods used in teaching oral skills in a form two class. Nunan's (1989) theoretical arguments on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language were used to enable the study come up with fmdings. A descriptive survey design was used. The study targeted public schools of different categories and performance levels. Ten schools from Nairobi County were sampled using stratified sampling techniques. A sample of 250 form two students and 20 English language teachers were selected using simple random sampling to act as respondents. Three types of instruments were used for data collection. These were a questionnaire for teachers and students and a classroom observation schedule for determining the type of teaching strategies and resources used during oral language skills lessons. Data collected from questionnaires and lesson observation guides was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. The results were presented in the form of frequency, means, ratings, percentage tables and pie charts. The fmdings revealed that class discussions and group work activities are the common methods employed by teachers when teaching oral skills. Debating, drama, role play were rarely used. Lack of sufficient learning materials for learning oral skills was found to be a handicap. Observations made in the classrooms, revealed that teachers do not vary instructional activities while teaching oral skills. Some students were hesitant when using the target language and were often forced to code switch. Various recommendations were made.