Oral literature is poorly performed in Kenyan secondary schools. It is evident from research that this is due to the conventional methods of teaching commonly used by most teachers of literature. Oral literature therefore requires appropriate teaching methods so as to attain the intended instructional goals. Research on the use of advance organizers on various subjects supports its usefulness in improving students‘ achievement, perception of the classroom environment and attitude towards the subject of study. This study aimed to investigate the effects of advance organizers on students‘ achievement, perception and attitude towards narratives in literature in English among secondary schools in Kilifi district, Kenya. The study also examined whether gender of the students influenced their understanding of narratives. The research design used was the Solomon Four non- equivalent control group design. The target population comprised of all form two learners countrywide while the accessible population was all the form two learners in Kilifi. Simple random sampling was used to obtain the study sample of four provincial co-educational secondary schools. Data was collected using the Narrative Achievement Test (NAT), the Students‘ Attitude Questionnaire (SAQ) and the Student Perception Questionnaire (SPQ). The validity of the instruments was determined using experts from the department of curriculum, instruction and educational management and English Language teachers to vet on the items. The reliability of the instruments was determined using the Kuder-Richardson K-R 21 for the NAT which yielded a coefficient of 0.78, Cronbach‘s alpha for SAQ and SPQ yielding a coefficient of 0.81 and 0.74 respectively. The TIS and SIS reliabilities were determined using the interrater formula which yielded a coefficient of 0.72 and 0.75 respectively. The t-test, one-way ANOVA and ANCOVA statistical techniques were used to analyze the data. An analysis of the findings indicates that the use of advance organizers caused an improvement of students‘ mean scores. The use of advance organizers helped boost students‘ attitudes towards oral narratives. It also enhanced the students‘ perception of their classroom environment during oral narrative lessons. The advance organizer strategy was also found to provide a student-centred learning environment. The results of this study will be helpful in enhancing the teaching and learning of narratives. As such this method is recommended for teachers of English and Literature as a complement to regular teaching methods. The Kenya Institute of Education should organize seminars, workshops and refresher courses for English and Literature in English teachers based on the use of advance organizers.

Background to the Study
English is the official language of communication in Kenya as well as the medium of instruction in our schools, colleges and universities. It is also the pre-eminent language of international communication. Consequently, those who master English reap many academic, social and professional benefits (Kenya Institute of Education (KIE), 2005).

The current 8-4-4 English syllabus requires that English language and literature teaching be integrated in order to improve the learner‘s language acquisition (KIE, 2002). This means that language and literature in English should no longer be taught as separate subjects in all Kenyan secondary schools. In the integrated syllabus, no language skill should be taught in isolation. English is taught through the four language skills – speaking, listening, writing and reading in addition to English grammar (Ministry of Education (MOE), 2006). In the teaching of English, the emphasis should be on the acquisition of communicative competence and not simply on the passing of examinations. Listening and speaking skills play a primary role in the social and academic life of a person. These two skills also contribute significantly to the development of reading and writing skills (KIE, 2002). Literature in English in secondary education deals with poetry, oral literature and set books. It is meant to improve the pupils‘ development and growth in intellectual, emotional, and linguistic aspects; and thereby develop appropriate self-image and concepts of the communities they belong (Chemwei, Kiboss, Ilieva, 2005).

Literature education offers the best way of extensive reading skills. It offers a way of linking the emotional with the intellectual. If students are to learn effectively, they have to remember significant turns in plot, and this will only happen, if those turns have emotional impact (KIE, 2005). In the integrated syllabus, literature in English is covered under the four skills. For instance, in the teaching of listening and speaking skills, the teacher is required to use content from oral literature and poetry. The teacher in oral literature uses narratives that may be shared to provide content and interactions that are naturally oral (MOE, 2006). According to Museve (2002), oral literature refers to the collection of creative work of mankind expressed in the oral medium. Although oral literature is expressed by the spoken word, some of it has now been recorded in the written form. For example, stories which were originally expressed orally now appear in various books (Mukulu, Indangasi, Mwangi, Gecaga & Okanga, 2010). Oral literature serves to make students understand their cultural and philosophical foundations as a people endowed with a rich culture and also makes them appreciate their history as handed down through oral tradition. An overwhelming majority of people still lives in the rural areas, and most of their day to day living depends almost entirely on the spoken word. Thus, if we are to relate to them meaningfully, we must approach them through a clear understanding of and interest in their way of life of which oral literature is a part (MOE, 2005).

According to Nandwa and Bukenya (1994) oral literature is studied in order to understand contemporary African society. Oral literature makes people aware of themselves, their fellow human beings, environment and history. The stories, songs, proverbs, riddles and jokes in oral literature use colourful words and vivid images to describe human beings, their feelings and their behaviour towards one another. By doing this, these performances stimulate the students‘ observation and their imagination. Thus, they begin to look at things in a new light and a better understanding (Nandwa, Bukenya & Gachanja, 2008).

Lessons in oral literature teach pupils social values. Most pieces of oral literature convey, in beautiful and lively form, the beliefs of societies, what is encouraged as good and decent behaviour, what is discouraged as bad and improper and what should be achieved (Museve, 2002). Thus, oral literature performances make students responsible members of society by instilling into them the beliefs, the morals, the concerns and the aspirations of the society (Nandwa et al., 2008). Various forms of social education are contained in oral literature. Historical information for example is contained in legends while myths provide religious education(Mukulu et al., 2010)

In most African countries, the teaching of oral literature, in which narratives is one of its categories, is either totally neglected or where it has been introduced it is done haphazardly (Miruka, 1999). In Kenya, for instance, the attempt to restructure the literature syllabus dates back to 1974 when the first conference of literature teachers was held at the Nairobi School. It was agreed then that literature teaching must have amongst others the objective of enabling students to recognize the positive stream in their culture so that they may look critically at their present day society, thereby developing a true sense of nationhood and national pride (Akivaga & Odaga 2008). These scholars contend that oral literature is both a product and an image of society and through the study of oral literature; students are able to grow both personally and intellectually.

While oral literature is important, the literature shows that the teaching and learning of oral literature in secondary schools is beset with many problems (Miruka, 2004). One of these is the feeling by most teachers that students do not find the subject relevant. If indeed this feeling is justified, then the question to ask is why is it not relevant? Is it a question of teaching the wrong subject for the right objectives, the right subject with the right objective but using the wrong method, or getting everything from the subject and objectives to the methods wrong? This, certainly, is an indication that the teaching of oral literature warrants a new approach.

Oral literature is one genre of literature that is taught and examined as an integrated subject in Kenyan secondary schools. Prior to this, literature in English was examined as a separate subject at the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) (KIE, 2002). In the current syllabus Literature in English is examined in all the three KCSE examination papers in English language. The English and literature examination consists of three main papers namely; Paper 1 – dealing with functional skills, Paper 2 – dealing with comprehension, literary appreciation and grammar, and Paper 3 – that assesses imaginative composition and essays based on set texts (MOE, 2006). According to the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC, 2007), Oral literature is not just part and parcel of language learning but a critical one in that the reading skill plays an important role of helping learners to develop vocabulary, comprehension and sentence construction. This is meant to enable the learners to handle examination papers that generally test their literary skills and ability to present clearly argued points in response (KNEC, 2003). An analysis of several KNEC reports (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011) indicate that although the general performance of English is rising, the mean score is still very low compared to the maximum mean. This can be inferred from Table 1.

As can be seen in Table 1, the highest mean score recorded was 79.40 in 2007. In reality this performance is way below the maximum score which is 200 marks (KNEC, 2011). A further analysis of the KNEC report on individual items indicates that although questions requiring knowledge of the salient features such as performance aspects, oral delivery and audience participation keep recurring in examinations, many candidates do not get the answers correct.

From the above concerns, the teaching of narratives and oral literature in general may benefit through the use of advance organizers. An advance organizer refers to a complete set of ideas or concepts given to the learner before the material to be learnt is presented (Ausubel, 1968, 1977; Mayer, 2003). Advance organizers are instructional materials that help students use previous knowledge to make links with new information. They serve to bridge the gap between the existing cognitive structure of the learners and the new content that the students have to learn (Koscianski, Ribeiro, & Da Silva, 2012). According to Eggen, Kauchak, and Harder (2004), there are two broad categories of advance organizers. One of them is the expository advance organizers which are used whenever the new material is totally unfamiliar; they link the essence of the new material with some relevant previously acquired concepts. The other one is the comparative advance organizers which are used when the material to be learnt is not entirely new. They are intended to point out ways in which that material resembles and differs from that which is already known (Curson, 2003). Advance organizers come in many formats, such as (i) expository advance organizers that describe new content in which students are to be exposed; (ii) narrative format in which information is presented to students in story format; (iii) an analogy;

(iv) skimming, in which a teacher previews important information quickly by noting main points in a text; and (v) graphic organizers which are non-linguistic and which visually represent what students will learn. Advance organizers are super ordinate concepts within which learners can subsume the new materials and relate it to what they already know (Lefrancois, 1997). The use of advance organizers as a teaching strategy may be used to activate prior knowledge, which provides a conceptual framework for integrating new information. The advance organizers are meant to provide cognitive structures to which the learning can be anchored. A teacher prior to presenting a lesson may give an advance organizer by either stating clearly the objectives of the topic, its relevance and use in daily lives, explain his/her expectations of the students after learning a topic, make generalizations of the specific topic or give an analogy that compares closely to the content of the topic that is to be learned.

Ausubel (1967) advocated the use of advance organizers during instruction and indicated that it leads to meaningful learning as opposed to rote learning. To learn meaningfully learners must relate new knowledge to what they already know. According to Ausubel (1967) an organizing statement called advance organizer presented at the beginning of a lesson acts as a connection between material to be learned (Eggen, Kauchak & Harder, 2004). In this teaching model, a teacher helps learners break major concepts into smaller related concepts and to determine the relationships between new ideas and old among the new ideas themselves (Eggen et al., 2004). According to Good and Brophy (1995), this is integrative reconciliation of concepts. During the presentation of advance organizers, lessons are interactive and learners develop their own ideas and process their own information.

According to Mayer (2003), effective advance organizers are those that present key terms, principles, models or illustrations rather than characterizing the new material with reference to previous knowledge or expository explanations. Generally concrete models, analogies or examples, sets of higher order rules or discussions of main themes are more effective organizers than specific factual pre-questions, outlines and summaries. Grippins and Peters (1997) indicated that the use of advance organizers makes a significant difference in recall and comprehension of subject matter. Mayer (1979) suggested that the most effective advance organizers are those that: (i) allow the learners to generate all or most of the logical relationships in the material to be learnt, (ii) point out relationships between familiar and less familiar material

(iii) are relatively simple to learn, and (iv) are used in situations in which the learners would not spontaneously use an advance organizer. Advance organizers constitute the introduction of any lesson which must have a higher level of generality and inconclusiveness than the detailed subject matter of the lesson (Ausubel, 1968). This study therefore was designed to develop a module to teach narratives using the advance organizer teaching strategy that would provide students with the opportunity to make a link between what they already know and what they are going to learn in an effort to improve the learning of narratives in Kilifi District secondary schools.

Statement of the Problem
English is of great importance in Kenya‘s education system. It is not only the official language but also the medium of instruction in our schools. Despite its importance, students‘ performance in English has over the years been persistently poor. This has been attributed to many factors one of which is the use of ineffective instructional approaches. The topic of narratives has consistently been difficult for pupils and yet it occupies a central place in the English syllabus. There is however inadequate documented information in research conducted in Kenya to investigate the effects of the use of advance organizers on students‘ learning of narratives. Therefore, this study attempts to fill this gap by investigating the effects of advance organizers on students‘ achievement, perception and attitude in narratives in literature in English in secondary schools in Kilifi District.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to develop and determine the effects of an advance organizers module on students‘ academic achievement, perception and attitude in narratives in literature in English in Kilifi District, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The study was guided by the following specific objectives:

i. To determine the effects of advance organizers on students‘ achievement in narratives in oral literature in Kilifi district secondary schools.

ii. To examine the effects of advance organizers on students‘ attitude in oral narratives in Kilifi district secondary schools.

iii. To examine the effects of advance organizers on students‘ perception of the classroom environment in narratives in Kilifi district secondary schools.

iv. To determine if there is any gender difference on students‘ achievement, attitude and perception of the classroom environment.

Hypotheses of the Study
In order to achieve the stated objectives, the following hypotheses guided the study.

Ho1: There is no statistically significant difference in achievement between students exposed to the advance organizer and those not so exposed.

Ho2: There is no statistically significant difference in attitude between students exposed to the advance organizer and those not so exposed.

Ho3: There is no statistically significant difference in perception of the classroom environment between students exposed to the advance organizer and those not so exposed.

Ho4: There is no statistically significant gender difference in achievement, attitude and perception of the classroom environment between students exposed to the advance organizer and those not so exposed.

Significance of the Study
This study was intended to develop an effective teaching strategy, which would make narrative learning easier and clearer to the learners. It is hoped that the findings of this study would provide useful information to support efforts directed at improving oral literature education in Kenyan secondary schools. In addition, the results may assist the teachers of literature in English to evaluate their methods of teaching literature in order to change students‘ attitude and hence improve their performance. Moreover, the results would be beneficial to teacher trainers in adopting and training teachers of English on the appropriate ways of handling the subject. The Kenya Institute of Education may use these results to improve the English curriculum through innovations such as in-service courses for teachers, seminars and workshops for oral literature and literature teaching in general. At the same time, the English curriculum designers would find the results useful for recommending the appropriate instructional designs, while publishers of integrated English books may use them to develop appropriate teachers‘ guides. These findings are also anticipated to stimulate further research on the appropriate methodologies in English language and literature in general.

Assumptions of the Study
The study made the following assumptions:

i. Teachers and students in the selected schools cooperated during the course of study.

ii. There was lack of the use of advance organizers in the teaching of narratives in oral literature in secondary schools in Kenya.

Limitations of the Study
This kind of research would have benefited from the involvement of a wider population but because of time and financial constraints, only the identified variables and sampled schools were used. As such, the results of this study may only be generalised with caution to secondary schools in Kilifi District.

Scope of the Study
This study was carried out in secondary schools in Kilifi district, Coast province. It targeted Provincial co-educational secondary schools that present candidates for the National Examinations under the revised 8-4-4 English syllabus. Co-educational schools were used for ease of comparison based on gender. The research involved 188 form two students because detailed learning of narratives usually takes places at this level. Four teachers of English were also used, one from each of the selected schools. The study focused on the teaching of the topic narratives in oral literature. Only two narratives namely Legends and Myths were studied.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 77 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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