Effects of kenyan sign language on acquisition of English language: a study of Esageri school for the deaf, Mogotio, Baringo County, Kenya
The aim of the study was to analyze Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) on acquisition of English language. Kenyan Sign Language is considered the natural language of the deaf in Kenya. Teachers in deaf schools are encouraged to use KSL when teaching general subjects and a form of signed English when teaching English. Currently, KSL is placed at the same level with English and Kiswahili languages. The government according to the constitution respect, promote and protect the diversity of languages of her people, this includes KSL. The research objectives were; to find out KSL and English language grammatical structures establish the influence of KSL on acquisition of English language, determine teachers’ ability to cope with the integration of KSL and English language and assess implication of KSL on acquisition of English language. The purpose of the study was to analyze how the use of Kenyan Sign Language is affecting the acquisition of English language. The significance of the study was to promote better understanding of the linguistic needs of the learners with hearing impairments. The study was carried out at Esageri School for the Deaf in Mogotio Sub-County, Baringo County and delimited to learners with HI, schools principal and teachers of the school. The researcher adopted Vygotsky socio-cultural theory, who has laid the foundation for the interactionist view of language acquisition. A pilot study was carried out to establish validity and reliability of the research instruments in Iten School for the Deaf in Elgeyo Marakwet County before the actual collection of data for the main study. The researcher used questionnaires, observation checklist and interview guide. These instruments comprised open-ended and closed-ended questions. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. The researcher gathered information, summarized, presented and interpreted data for the purpose of clarification. The study used both purposive and stratified simple random sampling technique to obtain the study sample. The study had a sample of 35 persons, which includes schools principal, teachers and pupils. Responses collected from the questionnaires, observation checklist and interview guides were coded, quantified, categorized to generate data for analysis using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Findings were presented in form of tables, pie charts bar graphs and histograms, qualitative data described according to the themes of the study. The findings for the study were to promote a better understanding of linguistic needs of learners with HI with a view to helping them acquire parity with their hearing counterparts since both go through the same systems of education and sit for the same examinations. The study showed that KSL has different grammatical structures from that of English language and its introduction had not boosted learning in schools for the learners with HI and this could limit employment opportunities among the deaf persons in Kenya. The researcher recommended that more teachers should be trained in KSL to equip them with adequate skills for effective teaching of KSL and English language. Further research should be carried out to determine the relationship between signs and mastery of the content among learners with hearing impairments in Kenya.