Selection and utilisation of instructional resouces by teachers of English in selected secondary schools in Murang'a district, Kenya
Mwangi, Isaac Minae
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Instructional resources are some of the most important tools at the teacher's disposal in the process of achieving set objectives of teaching any subject in the curriculum, English language inclusive. In spite of their fundamental role, literature shows that there has been little empirical evidence to exhibit the manner in which teachers select and utilize instructional resources, especially for teaching English. The primary purpose of this study was to find out how teachers of English select and utilize instructional resources. The secondary purpose was to investigate some of the constraints that teachers of English encounter in the process of utilizing instructional resources. The findings of the research are therefore significant to teachers, researchers, teacher trainers and Teacher Advisory Center personnel. Data for the study was collected from twenty-four teachers of English from Murang'a district using a questionnaire. Nine teachers were also observed during English language lessons using a classroom observation schedule. Nine heads of departments were also interviewed using an interview schedule. Descriptive statistics, mainly frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data. Most teachers did not utilize authentic instructional resources or a multimedia approach when teaching English. The visual media such as the chalkboard and textbooks were the ones that were predominantly used by majority of the teachers of Englisih.The audio,audio-visual and tactile,channels were hardly used. These constrain learners from having adequate practice of the English language, hence poor performance and proficiency in the language. Through this research, the researcher identified the factors necessary in the process of selecting instructional resources. These include, lesson objectives, learners' characteristics, the nature of the topic under study, the class size, the availability of instructional resources, the time available, and the technique of teaching. On the aspect of utilization of instructional resources, teachers of English did not greatly vary the manner and modes of utilizing instructional resources. For instance, majority of the teachers (79.1%) used the instructional resources for giving textbook assignments. A considerable number of teachers did not vary the mode of using instructional resources so as to expose learners to a variety of language contexts. All teachers (100%) cited shortage of instructional resources as the most disturbing problem that hinders the effective utilization of instructional resources. With these loopholes, the learner's performance in English is likely to be affected. It is therefore recommended that teachers should carefully select instructional resources following a multiple number of factors; this should be followed up with varied utilization so as to avoid monotony. Teachers of English should also attend professional growth activities such as seminars in which the theme of utilization of instructional resources should be emphasized. These elements together with others that have been discovered through research will help in improving the performance and competence of the learners in the English language.