Classroom verbal interaction patterns in relation to student performance in physics in Baringo Central Sub-County, Kenya
Cheruiyot, Daniel Kiprono
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Kenya has been recording poor student performance in Physics for a long period of time. There has been some revision of the Physics syllabus to reduce the level of difficulty and overloading of the students. Projects like Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) and other in-service workshops and seminars, integration of information communication and technology, employment of more teachers and Government subsidized tuition have been introduced but all these efforts have not significantly improved student performance in Physics. It is believed that the manner in which a teacher interacts with his/her students can either encourage the students to participate in the learning activities or inhibit such participation. This may affect their concept development and hence academic performance. The research topic was classroom verbal interaction patterns in relation to student performance in Physics in Baringo Central Sub-County, Kenya. The objectives of this study were: to investigate the relationship between the various types of verbal interaction patterns and the learners participation in learning activities; to establish the ratio of teachers direct to indirect behaviour based on verbal interactions in Physics classrooms and finally to investigate the relationship between various verbal classroom interaction patterns and student performance in Physics. A total of six Physics teachers from six stratified randomly selected schools were involved in the research. A modified version of Flanders‟ Interaction Analysis Category (FIAC) was used in Form Three classes. Form three students responded to an eight- item Physics achievement test (SPAT) in addition to an attitude scale (AS) while the Physics teachers filled a Physics teachers‟ questionnaire (PTQ) indicating their views on interactions in Physics classrooms. The data collected were analysed using SPSS computer software. Data collected through FIAC were tabulated and coded. Each table was analysed and interpreted using percentages. All categories from 1 to 10 were added and the mean of 10 categories for the six secondary classes calculated. Talk time was calculated by adding frequencies from categories 1 to 9 and converted into percentages by dividing the frequencies with total time of interaction. Teacher‟s talk time was calculated by adding frequencies from categories 1 to 7 and converted into percentages by dividing the frequencies with total talk time. Teacher‟s direct talk time was calculated by adding frequencies from categories 5 to 7 and converted into percentages by dividing the frequencies with teacher‟s total talk time. Teachers indirect talk time was calculated by adding frequencies from categories 1 to 4 and converted into percentages by dividing the frequencies with teacher‟s total talk time. Inferential statistics of Pearson correlation was used to determine the relationship between classroom interaction pattern and student performance in Physics. T-test was used to compare means in students‟ performance in SPAT. Qualitative data from the Likert scale was analysed by tallying the numbers of similar responses. The findings showed that verbal interaction had some influence on the learner‟s participation. It was also found that the Teachers ratio of indirect to direct verbal interaction is 1:2.The study also established that schools which used indirect verbal interaction performed better than those using direct verbal interaction.