Task Based Learning as an Alternative Approach to the Teaching of Languages in Kenyan Schools: Towards Best Practices
Njoroge, Martin C.
Gathigia, Moses Gatambuki
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Although language syllabuses in Kenyan primary and secondary schools encourage teachers to involve learners in their own learning, actual classroom practices reveal that this is not fully implemented for various reasons. Nevertheless, one of the approaches to the teaching of languages advocated for by language specialists is Task Based Learning (TBL), in which the central focus is completion of tasks that involve learners in language use in real life situations. In so doing, learners develop excellent communication and social interaction skills. The idea is for learners to learn the target language by being exposed to meaningful task-based activities. They perform tasks in pairs or in small groups after which they compile a report and present their findings to the class in written or spoken form. The research on which this paper is based investigated the use of TBL as an alternative to the teaching of English in Kenyan primary schools. A school in Nyeri County, Kenya, was purposively sampled. Learners in the experimental class were taught using TBL while those in the control class were taught using the Presentation, Practice and Performance (PPP) approach. A pre-test and a post test were administered before and after the teaching. Afterwards, the scores were tabulated and analyzed quantitatively and the emerging patterns discussed. The findings revealed that many benefits are derived from the adoption of TBL in the language classroom. Thus, we recommend that TBL be adopted in the teaching of languages in Kenyan schools and that language teachers be trained on this approach.