An analysis of the methods and resources used in the teaching of history and government in selected schools of Thika district
Mburu, Paul Kimani
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Instructional strategies and resources are some of the most important tools at the teacher’s disposal in the process of achieving the set out objectives of teaching any subject in the curriculum, history inclusive. In spite of their very fundamental role, literature shows that the manner of teaching the subject, which includes the use of instructional strategies and resources, has been criticized as being a major contributing factor to the perceived problems facing the subject. There was however little empirical evidence to show the contribution of instructional strategies and resources against the achievement of the stated objectives of teaching the subject, hence the need for this study. The primary purpose of this study was to find out the instructional methods and resources employed in the subject. A secondary purpose was to investigate the extent of participation of history teachers in professional growth activities, factors that determine choice of instructional supervision and guidance, and the usefulness of the Kenya National Examinations Council (KCSE) reports as a feedback mechanism for improving history teachers' approach to different topics in the History syllabus. The data for this study were collected from fifty-seven history teachers from Thika district using a questionnaire, while ten history teachers were observed during history lessons using a classroom observation schedule, basically to supplement the questionnaire for in depth information. Descriptive statistics, mainly frequencies and percentage distributions were used to analyze the data. With respect to the instructional strategies in the teaching of the subject, the results show that history teachers were greatly inclined to the use of mostly expository methods of teaching. Factors that influenced history teachers' choice of instructional methods of teaching. Factors that influenced history teachers' choice of instructional methods were mainly external to the teaching-learning process. With regard to the available resources in the subject, the results suggest that there was a shortage of instructional resources for the teaching of the subject, while at the same time there appeared to be a wide range of resources though under-utilized. Majority of the teachers were rarely involved in activities of professional growth, and the frequency of instructional supervision and guidance was at a very low level. With respect to the usefulness of KNEC (KCSE) reports as a feedback mechanism for history teachers, results show that they were ineffective, as most of the teachers indicated that they were not available in their institutions. The conclusions reached highlight the importance of making the learner the centre of the teaching-learning process and the crucial role to be played by various variables towards achieving the objective of making the methods used in teaching history more participatory by nature.