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Title: The role of reinforcement on second language learners’ performance in English in selected secondary schools in Nakuru town, Kenya
Authors: Ndegwa, Grace, Konyu
Keywords: Role of reinforcement on second language learners’
Issue Date: Jul-2020
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Reinforcement of learners’ performance has been regarded as of little or no consequence in Second Language Acquisition theory and practice. On the contrary, it has always been considered important in education theory and practice. The study investigated how reinforcement of learners may be a powerful tool in the improvement of performance in the English language in secondary schools hence increasing the opportunity of acquiring competence in the language. The study involved describing teachers’ use of reinforcement in English language classes; establishing the effect of teachers’ use of reinforcement on learners’ performance in the English language and finding out the challenges that teachers face in the reinforcement of English language learners. The study was guided by Gardner and Lambert’s Socio-Educational theory of second language acquisition. The study was carried out in selected secondary schools in Nakuru town. The study used descriptive research design. The accessible population for the study was teachers and learners of the English language in secondary schools in Nakuru town. Stratified random sampling was used to select the four schools while simple random sampling was used to choose two observation classes that are, one stream in form two, three and four, respectively in each school. It resulted in eight observational schedules. Three hundred and fifty-three learners and eight teachers were observed. Sixty students in form 2-4 and the eight teachers were purposively selected for interviews. The total sample size in the study was 413 learners and 16 teachers of English which added up to 429 participants. The study used interviews, audio recording and Structured Observational Schedules for data collection. The data was presented in the form of tables, figures and verbatim transcript excerpts for exemplification and illustration in a qualitative explication. The findings of the study revealed that second language learners’ performance in English is greatly influenced by teachers’ use of reinforcement. The findings also proved that teachers of English give unguarded praises, negative statements and criticisms to English second language learners. The study is an essential contribution to the field of Second Language Acquisition Theory and practice with regard to offering information and insight into reinforcement, motivation and attitudes in practical language acquisition and learning in the classroom situation. These findings are useful in the improvement of second language learners’ performance in English. The findings also inform teachers of English to acquaint themselves with effective use of positive verbal reinforcement (general praise, ability praise and effort praise) which works as a driving and motivational force on learners’ acquisition and use of English language.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Education and Community Studies

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