Evaluation of the general presentation of functional writing skills in form three and form four English course books
Mwangi, Grace W.
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Writing is one of the four language skills that are taught in Kenyan secondary schools. It is important for every learner to be competent in writing especially in English language since it has been acknowledged as a medium of communication in global interaction. Functional writing is an important skill since it involves writing for real life purposes. Functional writing should fit the intended purpose, audience and context, for example, writing Letters of application and Curriculum Vitae for job application. The motivation behind the study is the poor performance in functional writing skills in English paper one national examination. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the general presentation of selected functional writing skills in form three and form four approved English course books. The objectives of the study are: to describe the general presentation of functional writing skills; establish how the presentation aids teachers and learners in the teaching and learning of functional writing skills and to capture the editors' opinions concerning the presentation. The study was guided by the Presentation, Practice and Production theory (PPP theory) by Marian (1983) who is dogmatic on the presentation oflinguistic items to learners. A descriptive research design was used in the study. Qualitative data was collected by administering interview schedules to teachers from the best three performing public secondary schools in Nairobi County and from four editors of English course books in four publishing firms. A checklist was used to collect quantitative data. The form three and form four approved English course books formed the study sample. Purposive sampling was used to select the study sample, the schools, the teachers and editors who were interviewed. The data was collected and the results recorded in tables. Statistical Package for Social Sciences method of data analysis was used to analyze the data. The results revealed that the presentation of the guidelines is inadequate and ranges at 67%. Secondly, the presentation of guidelines is useful to the learners and the teachers in the teaching and learning of functional writing. Thirdly, the editors have diverse opinions concerning the presentation of guidelines in the selected texts. The study recommends that revision of the course books is necessary so as to improve on the general presentation of the guidelines provided in these course books.