Pre-School teachers' use of oral instructional strategies in teaching in English : a study in Kasarani division, Nairobi province, Kenya
Mwangi, Margaret Wanjiru
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Language is a means of communication through which people express their desires. Ideas, excitements amusements, disappointments and exchange information Language has been found to be an important tool for thinking and concept development in children. Children think and talk in a language that is familiar to them. F.arIv childhood curriculum internationally and in Kenya emphasizes the use of_ mother tongue or the language of the catchments area in the instructional strategies for teaching preschool children. This is important because young children come to school when they are fluent in their mother tongue or in a language spoken in their home environment. Studies have found that majority of preschool teachers instruct young children in English and it is not their first language. There are no studies done in Kenya that focuses on English as a medium of instruction and the instructional strategies at Early Childhood Development (;('D) level. The problem of poor performance in English and in other subjects at primary school and other levels may lie in the use of English as a medium of instruction at the pre-school level and the instructional strategies that pre-school teachers use at this level of education. Research has shown that teacher's factors such as teacher training, teaching experience, and education qualification impact on the choice of instructional strategies that teachers use. Research has identified some appropriate instructional strategies to enhance academic performance. The purpose of this study was to identify the instructional strategies that preschool teachers use when teaching in English and the tactors that influence their use of these instructional strategies in selected preschools in Kasarani Division of Nairobi Province. '1 'he theories of first and second language learning and acquisition that were selected for discussion in this study include: Interactionist Approach as discussed by Ellis-, Ellis's Theory of Instructed Second Language Acquisition and Krashen's Monitor Model. These theories have tried to guide, explain and predict the outcome of the study. They have clearly indicated the important role of the teacher in teaching a second language and the strategies that are used when instructing in a second language. The ex-post facto research design was used in this study. Questionnaires and observation schedules were used to collect data. Twenty (20) preschool teachers were sampled for observation. The main descriptive methods used were tabulation of frequencies and percentages. Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and Students T-test were the inferential statistic used to test the null hypotheses at alpha level of O.05 using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The main findings of- the study indicate that the instructional strategics most used by preschool teachers were giving directions, asking questions. code switching and repeating words and phrases. Expanding on children's utterances, giving explanations. substituting words with real items, giving examples and contrasting meanings were the least used instructional strategies used when teaching in English. The study also revealed that the length and type of training of teachers, academic qualifications and teaching experience were not related to the instructional strategies of preschool teachers in their classroom teaching in ECD centers. Since the predominant instructional strategies used by pre-school teachers are less than half of the recommended instructional strategies the study recommends that the training curriculum for pre-school teacher should be revised to include the required instructional strategies discussed in this research study. Preschool teachers should be adequately trained in the use of appropriate instructional strategies for teaching young children. In addition the language policy in education should be strengthened to facilitate clear guidelines of teaching young children in English language, which is a second or third language to many preschool children in Kasarani Division.