Secondary School English Teachers' Classroom Practices and Students' Aquisition of Functional Writing Skills: A Case of Kiambu County: Kenya
Kamau, Samuel Kiriiri
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Students' competence in any field is highly determined by the experiences they are exposed to by their teachers. Teachers of English in Kenya, especially those tasked with teaching of writing, may not be employing the best practices in teaching functional writing according to reports by the Kenya national examinations council. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to describe teacher classroom practices and their implication on students' acquisition of functional writing skills in Githunguri Sub County in Kiambu County. The objectives of this research were: to describe teacher classroom practices, to describe the nature of classroom talk and find out challenges that teachers of English face in teaching functional writing. The target population of the study was 40 government secondary schools, and 90 teachers of English and 11562 students in the county. The sample composed of 15 schools randomly selected, making 37% of the population. Five teachers from five schools were purposively selected those teaching English form 1 and 3 of English for observation, while two teachers from each school were interviewed on challenges in functional writing teaching making a total of 30 teachers and 300 form 2 students,20 from each school. to respond to the questionnaire. A naturalistic enquiry design and discourse analysis was adopted for the study. The study was based on Vygotsky' theory of constructivism (1978). Data from observation was analyzed through content analysis, where labelling and classification of common themes was done and tape recording was transcribed and patterns identified, while data from interviews WaS coded and themes established. Numerical data collected from document analysis and questionnaires was presented in percentages and tables. The bulk of the data was analyzed through detailed narrative description of what was observed in the classrooms. It was found that most teachers' classroom practices were teacher controlled and geared to memorization, recall and students spent bulk of their lesson time listening to teachers talk with little student-student talk. Challenges teachers faced in teaching functional writing included a wide syllabus, a high teaching load, lack of students' interest in writing and low use of computers and the internet to ease writing. The study concluded that teachers should use more student centered practices, let student talk in class and involve group work.