EFFECTS OF USING ADVANCE ORGANIZERS ON PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN POETRY IN NAKURU NORTH SUB-COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
English language is an international language of communication in many areas such as business, sports and aviation. Teaching and learning of English language in Kenya is expected to produce pupils who can express themselves fluently and effectively both orally and in writing. Mastery of English language in primary schools is crucial since it is the language of instruction for all subjects in upper primary except Kiswahili. In spite of the importance of English language, its overall achievement in public primary schools in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education has been relatively low. This may be due the expository teaching methods used in the learning and teaching of poetry that make learners passive thus the low achievement. Furthermore poetry is integrated in the primary English language curriculum and not given enough emphasis. Poetry is an art that involves the use of all senses thus very important in acquisition and mastery of English language. In this study an attempt was made to overcome this problem using advance organizers as an intervention. The study investigated the effect of advance organizers on pupils’ achievement in poetry in English language. Advance organizers are devices that teachers use to help learners to make connections between what they know and what is to be learnt. Quasi Experimental research was used where the Solomon-Four Non-Equivalent Control Group Design was adopted. The target population was all public primary schools in Nakuru County while the accessible population was all class 7 pupils in Nakuru North Sub-County. Four schools that were used in the study were selected purposively. Based on the class sizes, the sample size was therefore 163 class 7 pupils. Simple random sampling was then used to assign the four schools to experimental and control groups. Teachers of the experimental groups used advance organizers while those of the control groups used the conventional teaching methods. Data was collected using a Pupils’ Poetry Achievement Test (PPAT). The instrument was validated by three experts in Educational Research two experienced teachers of English. The PPAT was pilot tested in primary schools in Subukia sub-county. The data collected was used to estimate the reliability coefficient using the Kuder Richardson 21 formula. A reliability coefficient of 0.76 was realized for the PPAT. The data collected was analyzed using inferential statistics, the t-test and ANOVA. The hypotheses were tested at alpha = 0.05 level of significance. The results revealed that advance organizers had a significant effect on pupils’ achievement in poetry. However, the effect of the treatment on achievement in poetry in regard to gender was not significant. The findings of this study are expected to assist teachers of English in using advance organizers to improve pupils’ achievement in poetry in English. Teacher trainers may use these findings to sensitize in- service and pre-service teachers on the importance of advance organizers whereas the curriculum developers may use the information to improve teachers’ guides for use in the teaching of poetry in English in primary schools.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background Information
English language is a living vibrant language spoken by over 2.1 billion people globally as their native language, therefore ranking second after Chinese. English language is the first language in Britain, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland and also used as the official language in 54 countries in the world hence referred to as a world language (Parimal, 2013). At the same time English language is a second language for most people of the world and has increasingly become the international language for business and commerce, science and technology and international relations and diplomacy (Muturi, 2006). Due to the importance of English language, it has become the most popular language for learning taking 53 % of common languages learnt in the world followed by French at 11%, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and all other languages in decreasing percentages respectively (Rhalmi, 2010).

Rhalmi, (2010) in his paper on ‘The Role of English in the World Today’ further asserts that many countries have realized the importance of teaching English to young children since they aspire to become major economic powers in coming decades. He contends that English communication skills are at the root of changing national economies due to the unstoppable globalization in all countries where the service sector will grow in terms of the employed workforce; English communication skills being the key requirement in this sector. This researcher further asserts that English is the diverse middle class portal to personal success. Urbanization and international migrations to major English speaking countries is changing the world’s demographics and creating new constituencies of English users who look up to English as the gateway to success and better life. Therefore, mastery of English language in the primary school is important so as to prepare the children to cope with ease in this decade where English communication skills are very vital.

Khatib, (2011) asserts that despite the fact that many nations offer English as a learning subject in schools, the achievement in English language tests and in communicating is low in most countries. This research pointed out that in spite of the low achievement in English language, China was experiencing rapid globalization and a leaning towards an increasingly information driven economy thus the need to cultivate citizens who can communicate in English and compete in the global economy. As a result English is a required subject from elementary school to college. However in China students do not get many opportunities to use English in authentic settings and generally have low self-efficacy and poor attitudes towards English.

Verma (2013) in a study on learners’ attitude towards second language learning and teachers’ approach in a pre-designed curriculum found out that the knowledge to use English language by second language learners in India was miserable. This study asserts that learners do not get exposure to situations where they can use the language, or listen to how the language is used by others but are restricted to writing an examination of English language. Similarly in the USA, 3.4 million children aged between 5-17 years do not speak English or do not speak it well while 2.7 million live in linguistically isolated households; as a result, English language learners lag behind in academic English including the ability to read, write and engage in conversation about academic subjects (Snow, 2004).

Muturi (2006) asserts that today the world is a global village and the need to communicate locally and internationally has made English language very important. This study further points out that English is an international, business, technological, sport and aviation language. It also points out that English language is a passport to good jobs; better pay, advanced knowledge and communication with the entire world. Thus in this century of unstoppable globalization, countries need to use English language to enable them become major economic powers hence the need for good achievement in English in primary schools where the foundation for further learning is laid.

English language is learnt through the various genres of the language: stories, riddles comprehension passages, poetry, drama and puzzles (Chemwei, 2003). Poetry is an art in which language is presented in its most condensed form and a cultural composite. Thus, when a pupil is learning poetry, he or she is learning a culture in which people rely in communication with each other and this may help improve pupils’ interest in English language (Zeyuan, 2010). Poetry helps in vocabulary building; enhances listening, reading, writing, grammar, builds cooperation, imparts values, builds self esteem and allows the learner to have fun (Elena, 2013). The knowledge acquired through learning poetry may be used to answer questions in English language at classroom level tests and at national exams. As such, if poetry is adequately and effectively taught, achievement in English language may improve as it covers all aspects of language. Using effective strategies in the teaching and learning of poetry in English language may improve achievement in national exams and may enhance a positive attitude towards poetry in English language (Jeruto, 2009).

In Kenyan primary schools, English language is mostly learnt as a second language since the children join class one at the age of six years when they have already acquired their mother tongues. English language is the medium of instruction and at the same time learnt as a subject in all lower primary classes while mother tongue of the catchment area supplements it for instruction. In the upper primary and subsequent stages in the education ladder, it’s learnt as a subject and also used as the only medium of instruction (Kenya Institute of Education) (KIE) (2002). English language is therefore instrumental in the implementation of the education curriculum in Kenya and thus competence in the language is a prerequisite for educational and career success (Matheka, 2011). This is emphasized by the fact that in the current 8-4-4 education system, English is a compulsory subject and examinable at KCPE and KCSE levels. The English language syllabus is designed to ensure that by the time pupils are through with the primary English course, they should have acquired sufficient command of English language both in spoken and written forms. Therefore instruction ought to be effective so as to result to cognition and hence good achievement in English language exams.

Poetry is one of the genres used in the teaching of English. However, the genre is neglected in Kenyan primary schools by individuals and institutions as evidenced by the fact that in children’s literature only a few pages, barely 10% of the entire English language content is given to poetry (Muitung’u et al., 2015). Therefore children are not exposed to English language in its most alive form; that is the form in which language can be spoken, listened to, dramatized, recited and sang. Another reason why poetry is disadvantaged is because culturally poetry is seen as a minority art and only a few teachers of English are poets or enjoy or like poetry. This means that, poetry when taught, is not taught with passion but as a duty (Tobin 2004). An attempt to change the teaching strategies by use of devices more appropriate to the cognitive domains may help improve the achievement in English language. This is why the study investigated the effect of using advanced organizers (AO) in the teaching and learning of poetry. The pupils’ ability to answer questions from the poems correctly was the measure of understanding.

Advance organizers are devices that help learners to link prior knowledge with new learning (Ausubel, 1960). Advance organizers direct a learner to relevant prior experience and points forward to new material to be taught (Joyce & Weil, 2004). Trevor (2010) notes that for readers to comprehend any passage, they not only need to posses the knowledge of words and how texts work but also the knowledge of the world and successfully use it to activate relevant schema. Activation of the relevant schemas and their efficient use in learning is the main principle in the use of advance organizers. The study investigated the effects of using advance organizers on achievement in poetry in English language in Nakuru North Sub- County (NNSC).

In the past, English language as a subject has been performed poorly in Kenyan national examinations in KCPE (KNEC, 2017). Table 1 shows the overall candidates performance by subject at KCPE from 2010 to 2016.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 85 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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