British Journal of Education (BJE)

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The Challenges of Learners with Diverse Linguistic Needs: Experiences of Teachers in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya


Teachers in Kenya undergo language-based training that exposes them to both the academic content and teaching methodology in order that they may be able to respond to the diverse linguistic needs of learners in the language classroom. The unquestioned guiding assumption is that such the training knowledge informs teachers’ classroom practices. This paper assesses the challenges experienced by language learners in classrooms as a result of the diversity of their linguistic abilities. The paper is based on a study that examined how teachers’ maxims influence the teaching of English language in classrooms with learners of diverse linguistic abilities. The study was conducted in Wareng District of Uasin Gishu County. Wareng has one hundred and twenty teachers of Standard Four level English. A descriptive survey was carried out in the selected area. The study used both simple random and stratified sampling procedures to identify the schools and teachers to participate in the study. Data was collected using questionnaire and interview schedule and analyzed by use of descriptive statistics and then presented by the use of pie charts, graphs and percentages. The study established that the language learners and teachers in Uasin Gishu County experience a number of challenges emanating from the diversity of their linguistic abilities and needs. These challenges include the feelings that they are not part of class; lack of experience to handle linguistic needs; large number of learners in language classroom; the strong influence of first language; inadequate time to address each learners’ needs, and language policy not being supportive. It was, therefore, recommended that there is need for funds to be provided for teachers to attend further training and seminars on specific language needs in language education. In addition, more time is needed for teaching language to enable teachers to respond to the needs of every individual student. Teachers also need to adopt diverse methods of learning language in order to cater for the diverse learning needs of students. The government also needs to address the challenge of excessive enrolment of students that is causing congestion of classrooms in primary schools in Kenya.

Keywords: Assessment, Challenges, Diverse Linguistic Needs, Kenya, Learners, Schools Uasin Gishu County

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