A study of the factors that affect the teaching of reading in Kiswahili in lower primary classes in selected schools Kisii municipality
Onyamwaro, Antony A.O.
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The intention of this study was to investigate the factors that affect the teaching of reading in Kiswahili in lower primary classes of Kisii Municipality. The teaching of reading in Kiswahili is especially important as Kiswahili is the national language of Kenya as well being as a medium of instruction in lower primary classes in the urban centres of the Republic. Furthermore, the new system of education (8-4-4) has put heavy challenges and demands on teachers in their teaching of the language and reading in particular. The study involved an attempt to find whether teachers of reading in Kiswahili have the relevant qualifications, training and experience; and, whether they prepare schemes of work and lesson plans. It also tried to identify the pupils' socio-linguistic backgrounds and how these affect the teaching and learning to read in Kiswahili. The study also looked at the methods of teaching reading in Kiswahili as well as the availability and use of instructional materials. The teaching ‘ ‘Word Attack’’ skills were also investigated. The investigation tried to find out whether teachers were planning for both intensive and extensive reading in their Kiswahili lessons. Teachers' evaluation procedures of reading were also examined as well as the instructional problems encountered by teachers when teaching reading in Kiswahili. Data was collected by way of questionnaires administered to thirty (30) teachers, to which each teacher responded. The thirty (30) teachers were selected from ten primary schools (three from each school) out of twenty nine (29) schools of Kisii Municipality. Five (5) teachers were observed in actual classroom teaching situations. The researcher used an own-constructed observation schedule to validate responses on the questionnaires. Data from twenty-nine teachers (one did not respond) revealed that Kiswahili teachers were qualified to teach reading in Kiswahili. However, they had a poor background and mastery of Kiswahili. The teachers were using various methods of teaching reading, most of which have traditional approach. It was further found that teachers hardly plan for pre-requisite activities that would prepare pupils to read Kiswahili. The teachers, it was found, were not aware of word attack skills or their use in teaching pupils to read independently. Few teachers have attended refresher courses. The study further revealed that instructional materials both in terms of quality and quantity were not adequate. It was also revealed that teachers relied o the texts and syllabus for the formulation of teaching objectives. For their assessment of reading progress, they seemed to rely almost exclusively on tests and end-of-term examinations. They did not seem to be aware of the existence of other methods of evaluation; it was also revealed that no visual aids were used by the Kiswahili readers. The study also revealed that teachers aware of many problems they encountered in their teaching of reading in Kiswahili. These problems ranged from lack of textbooks to over-crowded classrooms.