Textbooks and their utilization in the teaching and leaning of history and government in Kenyan secondary school: a study of South Nyanza district
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Textbooks play a very important role in education, and this study was aimed at investigating textbook utilization in the teaching and learning of history and government in secondary schools. This study appropriately presents the Kenyan situation according to the debates that have and are still taking place concerning the issues of textbooks. Teachers and students in class therefore formulated various objectives touching on the purchase, selection, storage and actual utilization of textbooks. In an attempt to satisfy the stated objectives, a sample of 20 schools, 14 heads of department, 25 history and government teachers and 392 students were utilized in the study. A senior curriculum specialist and an inspector of schools from South Nyanza District were also interviewed. The research instruments through which relevant data was gathered included questionnaires, these were issued to teachers, students and heads of history and government departments. Interview and observation schedules and checklists were the other tools used in this study. Through these tools, useful data on the utilization of textbooks was obtained. The data gathered was then descriptively analyzed through the use of tally marks, which were then converted into percentages and presented in a tabulated form. Through the analysis of the obtained data, the following became evident among other findings: (i) That there is an acute shortage of textbooks in the study schools. (ii) That although both teachers and students claimed to utilize textbooks in class, it was revealed that this was not the case. (iii) That there are various textbooks available for the teaching of history and government. These texts consist even of textbooks utilized during the previous system of education. Based on the findings, various recommendations were made. These recommendations, it is hoped if effectively carried out, may lead to great improvements on the utilization of textbooks in our secondary schools. Some of these recommendations included: (i) The introduction of in-service course for teachers on how to utilize not only textbooks, but also resources in general. (ii) The construction of schools libraries being made compulsory and the inclusion of library lessons on the school time -tables. (iii) The role of the school inspector should be made more visible, for example, they should visit schools regularly to as to check on the availability of textbooks and how they are utilized by both the teachers and students. At the end, an in depth research on textbook utilization was recommended so that more information could be obtained throughout Kenya. This kind of information could then act as a good basis for a comparative study.