This study investigated the influence of the instructional process on the teaching and acquisition of listening skills in Kiswahili language. Based on the study, this paper examines the type of instructional strategies used by secondary school teachers in the teaching of listening skills in Kiswahili language. The study was based on two theories, the theory of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) as advanced by Widdowson in 1978 and the Top-down theory propounded by Mendelsohn in 1995. A sample of 13 secondary schools was purposively selected from a total of 41 secondary schools in Wareng’ Sub-County. Thirteen (13) teachers and 130 Form Two learners of Kiswahili formed the study sample. The study was a descriptive survey since it set out to discover, describe and interpret existing conditions focusing on secondary school teachers of Kiswahili and Form Two learners. The research instruments used to collect data were two sets of interview schedules and an observation schedule. The 13 teachers were interviewed whereas the 130 learners participated in Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Moreover, 13 Kiswahili lessons were observed and tape-recorded. Tape-recording was used to record data during observations while note taking was used during the focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews. Analyzed data was presented using frequency tables, percentages, graphs and charts. The study revealed that poor teaching strategies used in the teaching process contribute heavily to poor levels of acquisition of listening skills. In view of the findings, the study recommends that teachers of Kiswahili should build into their classrooms listening activities that have as much of the characteristics of real life listening as possible. In particular, there should be a purpose for listening that should be known before the listening activity commences. This paper is significant in that it seeks to provide impetus for Kiswahili language educators, teacher trainers, curriculum designers and the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) to re-examine their policies on teaching listening skills.
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