Language Activities used in Development of Learners' English Vocabulary in Kenyan Secondary School
Vocabulary forms a major component in the study of a language and since the mid -1980s a lot of research has focused on this area. The study sought to survey language 'activities used to enhance the development of learners' vocabulary in Kenya secondary schools. Specifically, the study sought to first, examine the presentation of vocabulary activities as outlined in the Kenyan secondary school English syllabus and English textbooks. Second, it sought to find out vocabulary learning activities that teachers engage learners in so as to help them develop their vocabulary. Third, it investigated the learning activities that are considered to be effective in development of English vocabulary and finally, from available literature, the study has provided suggestion on vocabulary enhancement activities that can be used by students for effective vocabulary development in Kenyan schools. The study was carried out in four public secondary schools in Thika District. The schools selected were drawn from three main categories, namely; national, provincial and district levels of schools. Eight teachers of English randomly selected from the four selected secondary schools were used in the study. In addition, the secondary school English syllabus and two core form two English textbooks were analyzed to find out language activities recommended for teachers' use in vocabulary teaching. The study was guided by, Baker and Westrup (2000). Presentation, Practice and Production (PPP framework).The framework was used to discuss different language learning activities that were exposed to the learners to during the teaching of vocabulary. The data collected were coded, analyzed and the emerging patterns interpreted and discussed. The study found that there are several vocabulary learning activities that enhance vocabulary in Form Two class in Kenya secondary schools. However, there lacks a systematic way of identifying what vocabulary should be taught to learners of different levels. In addition, the teachers are not well-guided on the specific vocabulary development activities that they should use. The study recommends that syllabus designers, textbook authors, material developers and teachers of English language take into consideration the importance of developing secondary school learners' vocabulary as done in primary schools, especially in the choice of vocabulary enhancement activities to be used in teaching of vocabulary.