Teacher Related Factors as Predictors of Teaching Literacy Skills among Grade One Learners in Mombasa County, Kenya
Olando, Emelda Juma
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Early Childhood Education is universally defined as the education of children in their early years of life. The identified teacher factors which inform literacy skills for the children include writing, reading, speaking, listening and other basic skills. Policies governing basic education in Kenya do emphasize the importance of skilled, qualified teachers in the classroom, including early childhood settings. The study sought to determine the teacher factors that influence teaching literacy skills among grade one learners in Mbaraki zone within Mombasa County in Kenya. The study target area was Mbaraki zone comprising of 20 primary schools from which all the head teachers (20) were interviewed using a complete enumeration method, in addition, two teachers for grade one learners were observed in each of the schools 20 schools using purposive sampling criteria. Further, a simple random sampling methodology was adopted to identify 6 learners each in the 20 schools, thus 120 learners representing 15% of the total grade one learners were identified. The qualitative responses were analyzed thematically or coded into categories using qualitative values, as well quantitative data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Both Descriptive statistics in form of the frequencies and percentages as well as non-parametric tests using Chi-Square Tests were conducted to establish the association between teacher factors and literacy skills. Results showed that majority of the teachers for grade one learners were female (80%), 59% were Early Childhood Development (ECD) diploma holders and majority representing 84.62% had over 5 years teaching experience. On the relationship between academic qualification and literacy skills, the critical value from the distribution table was 7.378. The calculated value for writing (7.9746), reading was 8.0706552, speaking (33.73995), listening (1.212933) and basic skills (14.38557). All the calculated value appeared greater than critical value except for listening at 5% confidence level. Therefore, academic qualification of teacher for grade one influences literacy skills. On the association between teaching experience and literacy skills, the critical value from distribution table was 9.348. The calculated value for writing (1.248927) reading (7.127797), speaking (13.34939), listening (3.484822) and basic skills (3.916710). All calculated values were established to be less than the critical value at 5% confidence level except for speaking. Therefore, number of years of experience does not necessarily influence literacy skills. On the association between teacher of grade one gender and literacy skills, the critical value from distribution table was 5.024. The calculated value for writing was 0.0119, reading (5.90492), speaking (3.68363), listening (44.121) and basic skills (0.64071). We conclude that only reading is not dependent of gender of the teacher for grade one. On the association between teacher of grade one workload and literacy skills the critical value from the distribution table was 9.348. The calculated value for writing was 6.22958, reading (3.98737) for, speaking (7.15579), listening (34.6456) and basic skills (2.56608). The study recommends emphasis on trainings to improve mainly literacy skills in writing, reading and speaking.