Identification of teaching competencies of adult literacy teachers as perceived by the supervisors and the teachers of adult literacy in Kenya

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to identify the teaching competencies of adult literacy teachers as perceived by supervisors and teachers of adult literacy in Kenya. The two research questions that guided the survey focused on perceptions that respondents considered to be most important in enabling the literacy teachers to be effective; and commonalities between supervisors' and teachers' perceptions.

The questionnaire was the main method of gathering data. The instrument for the study was developed via teachers, supervisors, and administrators who were familiar with adult literacy in Kenya. The research instrument was pilot-tested. From the Department of Adult Education records, a sample of 86 supervisors and 328 teachers was selected. A 67 percent rate of return was attained.

The participants of the study ranked the attributes on a 7 point Likert scale according to the degree to which they perceived these attributes to be important for teachers to function effectively in a Kenyan setting. Findings are reported by mean scores and descriptive narrative.

The results of the study indicated that the following competencies were critical for effective teacher performance: (a} thorough knowledge of subject matter in: child care and child development, family planning, nutrition, family health and agriculture; (b) keeping class records; (c) making and using lesson plans; (d) being confident while teaching and outside the classroom; (e) not being late for class; (f) ability to work with community leaders and government employees; (g) identifying the students' learning needs; (h} teaching students at their levels of understanding; and (i) encouraging students to participate during the teaching process. Teachers indicated that literacy teachers who believe in students' potential were more likely to be successful in teaching whereas supervisors viewed teacher behavior to be critical in influencing teaching effectiveness.

Administrative constraints that need to be improved to enhance teacher effectiveness, and the implications of the findings are discussed. Recommendations on how to improve the teacher training program, and research considerations for further studies in literacy development are made.