Presentation of disability in English textbooks in secondary schools in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Wachira

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Joachim Tamba


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Textbooks do not only provide a framework for language learning; they also provide information about social issues, for instance disability. This study sought to find out how disability is presented in English textbooks in secondary schools in Kenya. I adopted content analysis methods to collect and analyze data. Data collected was coded and categorized into theoretical categories. These were then analyzed and grouped into themes and presented using a descriptive narrative. Data revealed that disability is featured in a limited way in textbooks. This presentation is both positive and negative. On the positive side, characters are presented as accepting disability as part of their reality and adapting to the limitation placed upon them by the disability while on the negative side, disability is presented as inviting negative responses such as isolation, and belief that it is punishment. Disability is also used as a metaphor depicting undesirable traits in society. The overwhelmingly positive presentation of disability is likely to socialize learners to view persons with disability positively, to be empathetic, and to look for the abilities rather than the limitations. Data also revealed that textbook design in insensitive to learners with disability because of the small font size and spacing. It is recommended that teachers and learners look for more content on disability, publishers produce books that show the fluid nature of disability and the government encourage publishers to produce textbooks in accessible formats.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library