A critical study of methods and materials used to teach history and government in secondary schools in Kenya.
Kiio, Mueni Ngungui
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The primary concern of this study was to investigate the methods and materials used to teach History and Government in secondary schools in Kenya. Specifically, the study attempted to investigate the following: (i) The qualification and teaching experience of teachers teaching History and Government in the sample study; (ii) The quality and effectiveness of the methods used to teach History and Government in the selected schools; (iii) The quality and utility of instructional materials used in History and Government teaching learning; (iv) Problems encountered by teachers and students in the course of History and Government teaching/learning and (v) Methods used to assess students in History and Government. The research was limited to thirty-six secondary schools drawn from Nairobi, Central, Rift Valley and Eastern Provinces. The subjects for the study included three hundred and ninety-seven History and Government students and fifty-two teachers. History and Government specialists at the Kenya Institute of Education, Inspectorate and the Kenya National Examinations Council were also involved. The nature of this study called for the use of questionnaire, interview, evaluation schedule, and checklist and observation schedule. The questionnaire was used to get information from students and teachers about the quality of methods and resources used to teach History and Government. Interviews were held with head of humanities departmention areas, which were not dealt in the questionnaires. Interviews were also held with History and Government specialists in the Ministry of Education. Expert view on the current state of teaching/learning History and Government was sought from these officials. Observation of lessons was done to find out how teachers and students of History and Government interacted with methods and instructional materials at their disposal. As part of observation, the researcher also check listed all the resources available for History and Government teaching and learning. There was an evaluation schedule for each method and type of resource to determine his or her quality. The researcher also examined the quality of History and Government KCSE papers for the years 1993-1996. The main area of focus in these papers was content and skill coverage. The collected data were assembled carefully for analysis and interpretation. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results from the study revealed the following: (i) Majority of History and Government teachers in the sample study were professionally trained to teach the subject. (ii) History and Government teachers employed a variety of methods to teach the subject. However, there was under undue dependence on expository oriented approaches, which tend to encourage passive learning. (iii) There was a wide range of media in the sample schools, which could be used in History and Government teaching and learning e.g. textbooks, graphic and collateral materials, audio-visual and regalia. However, most of these resources were inadequate in terms of quantity and quality. This hampered their effective utilization. (iv) History and Government teachers and students experienced a number of problems in the teaching/learning of the subject. The major problems identified by teachers include: lack of professional guidance: inadequate resources, difficult content and poor methods of teaching. The following recommendations were made on the basis of the above findings: (i). History and Government teachers should be in serviced in order to update their professionalism. (ii). Expository-oriented methods of teaching which were dominant in the sample schools should be integrated with heuristic approaches in order to make the teaching/learning of History and Government stimulating. (iii). Effort should be made to improve quantity and quality of instructional resources for history and Government teaching and learning. (iv). History and Government teachers should utilize as fully as possible the available resources in their schools in order to improve the quality of teaching/learning. (v) History and Government syllabus should be trimmed into manageable proportion. (vi) Formative assessment in History and Government should be done regularly to determine the extent to which instructional objectives are achieved. (vii) The quality of assessment in History and Government national examinations should be improved.