An Assessment of Predictors of Behaviour Change among Learners with Emotional and Behaviour Disorders in Selected Juvenile Schools in Kenya
Muthomi, Rintaugu James
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The best way to guide learners with Emotional and Behaviour Disorders (EBD) to achieve their best in life remains a challenge to stakeholders at a global, regional and Kenyan view. This investigation assessed predictors of behaviour change among learners with EBD in the selected Juvenile Schools (JS) in Kenya. Main objectives of the research were to: Investigate referral of learners with EBD to JS, establish skills taught to learners with EBD in JS, examine staff professional competencies in JS, determine the curriculum for behaviour change in JS and examine reintegration process of learners with EBD in JS to society. This research was founded on social learning theory. A cross sectional descriptive research design was embraced. The study’s target population consisted of managers and learners in the selected JS schools in Kenya. This entailed 466 boys, 160 girls and 20 managers in Getathuru, Kabete, Wamumu, Kirigiti and Dagorreti Juvenile Schools. There was a total of 646 respondents. Learners with EBD in chosen JS in Kenya and their managers were sampled probabilistically. That is; stratified random sampling for learners with EBD in each school and their managers in terms of duration of interaction with the rehabilitation programme and gender. Prior to the main study, validity and reliability of research tools was tested at pilot stage. Questionnaires, focus group discussion, interview schedules, document analysis and observation schedules were used for data collection. Quantitative data collected was entered, coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented graphically. Qualitative data was coded, reviewed for patterns and emerging themes and finally presented in narrative form. The main study findings were as follows: Referral from juvenile justice system was majorly practiced. Skills taught (academic and vocational) were not modified to cater for needs of learners with EBD while enriched skills competency to cater for learners with special needs lacked among staff (teaching, professional and support) in JS. 10% of teaching staff had training in special needs education while those trained in EBD were very few. That curriculum in use for behaviour modification of learners with EBD was not modified despite JS operating as referral establishments for behaviour change. Consequently, this curriculum failed to handle coping and problem solving skills. On reintegration avenues, there were no functional transition- programme, guide or follow up strategies yet learners with EBD were periodically transitioning from the JS. The study recommends; a linkage of regular and JS referral avenues, adaptation of skills taught and the curriculum, provision of relevant training (to staff of all cadres) and development of functional reintegration policy.