Instructional methods for composition writing in French at the secondary school level in Nairobi, Kenya
Owuondo, Elizabeth Awino
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Most foreign language teaching methodologies give priority to speaking. The acquisition of writing skills is usually given secondary priority. However, with the advancement of technology, the world has become smaller in terms of accessibility by the written word, which is more pervasive and transcendent. Learning a foreign language would be incomplete if one did not learn how to write well in it. There are studies in Kenya that intimate the unpopularity of writing in French for those learning the foreign language in secondary schools. There is however no research in Kenyan secondary schools investigating the instructional methods for writing in French and whether they are apt in motivating learners to write. This study is an effort to fill this gap. The main purpose of this study was to survey the instructional methods used by teachers in secondary schools to teach writing in French. Basing on the results from the field, the study was also to recommend the effective methods of instruction in composition writing in French, as a foreign language in Kenya. The target population were form 3 students learning French as a foreign language and their teachers. Nairobi schools were put into 4 clusters: day private schools, day. public schools, boarding public schools and boarding private schools. Using simple random sampling, three schools were selected from each cluster, making a total of twelve schools in the sample. To select student-respondents, simple random sampling was used to select six students in each school. All the teachers for French in the sampled schools were respondents. There was a 100% response rate from the teachers and a 90.3% response from the students. Data were collected using teacher's interview guide, classroom observation schedule and student's questionnaires that were first piloted and found to be reliable. Having been a descriptive survey, data was analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency and percentage distributions. The findings revealed that teachers lacked appropriate instructional methods for composition writing. The study also revealed that there is a vicious cycle of students' dismal performance and lack of interest in composition writing in relation to teachers' lack of interest and confidence in the same. The study recommends pre-service and in-service training for teachers, publication and design of appropriate materials as well as necessary changes in curriculum development all geared towards motivating and needs-sensitive strategies of instruction in composition writing in French.