Multimodal Approaches in the Competency of Listening and Speaking Skills among Grade 1 Learners in Kenya
Implementation of the use of multimodal approaches in teaching listening and speaking skills has remained elusive. Mastering listening and speaking skills in the English language in the early years of learning plays a critical role in the achievement of Second Language (L2) learning and continuous cognitive and meta-cognitive development among learners. Consequently, researchers who examine the best approaches to use in teaching listening and speaking skills agree that proper identification, description and use of multimodal approaches have a bearing on achieving competencies in listening and speaking skills. However, teachers of the English language have shown less engagement in the identification and usage of multimodal approaches while teaching listening and speaking skills. As a result, studies show that over 70% of learners in lower primary schools in Kenya cannot dully express themselves in the English language. It is against this background that this paper attempts to elucidate how the identification, description and use of multimodal approaches by teachers of English can aid in the effective teaching of listening and speaking skills during classroom interaction. The paper further highlights the bottlenecks that teachers of the English language go through while trying to use multimodal approaches in a classroom with learners with multiple learning styles. The study was conducted among selected primary schools in Western Kenya. Stratified sampling was applied to source for respondents who included Grade 1 teachers of English and 7 Curriculum Support Officers from the same zones. Primary data was sourced from 75 primary schools’ teachers of English. Questionnaires, observation schedules and interviews were used to elicit data. Findings revealed that proper identification, description and use of multimodal approaches motivated teachers of English to design and use multimodal approaches during classroom interaction. However, the findings also revealed that some teachers of English were not aware of the importance of identification and use of the right multimodal approaches played in the classroom. The paper advocates for teacher training in proper identification, description and implementation of multimodal approaches for effective teaching of listening and speaking skills among Grade one learners.