Strategies used in the teaching of intergrated English course in selected secondary schools of Bungoma West District, Kenya
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The teaching of English in Kenyan secondary schools has undergone various changes in the last few years in an attempt to improve quality in language education. The current secondary school syllabus is as a result of the syllabus review in 1984/85 which was later revised in 1992 and 2002 to match with the changes brought about by integrating English language and Literature syllabus. Despite the efforts to improve the performance in English in Kenyan secondary schools, there have been persistent challenges facing the teachers in teaching the integrated English. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the strategies used in the teaching of integrated English in selected secondary schools of Bungoma West district, Kenya. The objectives of the study were to: Identify and describe the strategies teachers used in the teaching of integrated English in secondary schools; find out the extent of integration of the teaching of English; find out the resources available for teaching integrated English; determine the difficulties teachers faced in teaching integrated English and evaluate the role of departmental heads of English in the integration of English and Literature. The study used a descriptive research design. A systematic proportional sample of ten schools was selected to obtain qualitative and quantitative data from ten teachers and ten heads of English department. Data was collected using questionnaires, interviews, checklists and classroom observation. Results indicated that the lecture method was widely used by teachers which hardly enabled them achieve the objectives of integrated English as observed in 57% of the lessons. This approach barred student participation in the lesson. The extent of integration within linguistic skills indicated that listening and speaking were used at 80% where the teacher explained lesson content as the learners listened. The integration of English and literature involved vocabulary to a large extent 55% as the teacher used new words from literary texts to construct sentences, form tongue twisters and jokes. Up to 40% of the teachers had class readers while 30% had charts these hindered the exploring of methods that encouraged student's participation such as role play where students learn by speaking, listening, and writing. It was reported by 35% of the heads of English department that they encouraged reading culture in the schools which in tum motivated the students to read texts on their own by relating content to the real life situations and thus learning in an integrated manner. Respondents recommended the acquisition of necessary reading materials in sufficient varieties and that the teachers should help the learners to develop the skills of intensive and extensive reading. The study also recommends improvement of teachers training both pre-service and in-service levels as well as the consultative process of curriculum development to prepare them cope with the rapid changes in the teaching of integrated English course.