Using Dramatization to Improve High School Students’ Achievement in English Oral Skills

Bernard Chemwei


Oral skills is taught and examined as part of Kenya’s secondary school integrated English syllabus. However, difficulty in learning the skills has made it unpopular among students and teachers in secondary schools. Kenya certificate of secondary Educaton (KCSE) candidates continue to perform poorly in the Oral skills section of the English paper. This raises questions on their level of communicative competence in a language that is very important in their academic   pursuits. It is evident from research that this is  due  to  the  traditional  methods  of  teaching  commonly  used  by   teachers  of English. But this should not be the case considering the central role played by oral skills in the language curriculum. One responsive approach that has been lauded to enhance the development of oral skills is dramatization. Research on the use of dramatization in teaching English in various countries supports its usefulness in improving students’ achievement in language learning. This study was therefore set to determine whether the use of dramatization is more efficient in developing oral skills of secondary school students than the traditional approaches of teaching. The study was carried out in Koibatek Sub-County where a persistent low performance in English has been registered. The study focused on selected oral skills in the Form Two English syllabus namely effective listening, pronunciation, stress and intonation, use of non-verbal cues, public delivery and etiquette. The study adopted the Solomon Four Quasi-experimental research design. Four co-educational secondary schools were purposively selected from from the 35 secondary schools in the subcounty to take part in the study. A total of 177 subjects took part in this study. Balloting was used to select subjects that were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups.. Data was collected from a sample of Form Two students. The traditional method, using teacher-centered methods, was implemented in the control group, whereas dramatisation was utilized in the experimental group. At the end of the 8 week period, all the four groups participated in the post-test. The Oral skills achievement test (OSAT) was pre-tested and post tested on the students to assess the effectiveness of the program on the students’ achievement in oral skills. An analysis of the results showed that dramatisation resulted in significant learning gains in oral skills. As such the use dramatisation in language instruction improves development of oral skills when contrasted with traditional, teacher-centered methods. This suggests that dramatisation can be used to improve those areas of language teaching that are difficult to teach and learn using regular methods. Dramatisation therefore should be integrated into the language education curriculum because it can be used as a complement to regular teaching methods. 

Keywords: Dramatization, Oral skills, communication, High school, Kenya

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