An assessment of the conditions requisite for learning Kiswahili language by learners with hearing impairment in Mumias Primary School for the Deaf in Kakamega County, Kenya.
Namalwa, Makokha C.
Awori, Beatrice B.
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In Kenya, Kiswahili is important, not only as a national and official language in Kenya, but as a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school curricula. There has been an outcry by various stakeholders that learners perform poorly in Kiswahili in both local and national examinations. The focus of this paper is to assess the availability of the conditions requisite for excellence and educational resources used in teaching and learning Kiswahili among the hearing impaired learners. The study was carried out at the Mumias School for the Deaf in Kakamega County, Kenya. The school was purposively selected because all the pupils in the school had hearing impairment. A sample size of six teachers and thirty-two pupils was involved in the study. The study was guided by the behaviourist theory of language acquisition which emphasizes language learning through Stimulus-Response-Reward (S-R-R) chains. It employed qualitative approach as a major research methodology and was carried out in the form of a case study. Quantitative analysis was used to compare KCPE results between Kiswahili and other subjects in the school. The instruments used for data collection were: non-participant observation guide, three interview guides for the head teacher, Kiswahili teachers and learners with HI, document analysis and data sheets. Raw data collected was categorized into themes and data presentation was done using frequency distribution tables, pie charts, histograms line graph and descriptive passages. Interpretation of the study findings was done in the light of the tenets of the study guiding theory of Stimulus-Response-Rewards (S-R-R). The study found that performance in Kiswahili was poor due to several reasons, among them being the conditions at the school were not conducive to effective learning of Kiswahili. It was recommended that teachers should revert to the horse-shoe seating arrangement as this would inevitably shift the passive class atmosphere to one that is more interactive and cordial, allowing peer-peer learning to take place. Moreover, classrooms should be flooded with play things especially in lower classes to facilitate more Kiswahili language experiences. A change in policy that would provide KSL training for examination officials in order to improve examination standards and that teachers train learners with HI on how to tackle examination questions.