Investigating approaches that inform methods teachers use while teaching essay writing – a case of a public secondary school in Taita-Taveta County, Kenya.

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Fredrick Mtenzi

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Samuel Andema


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Writing is a complex language skill that influences the process of thinking and learning. Essay writing has a significant impact on the achievement of students not only in English but also other subjects that are examined in English. Teachers of English have a pivotal role in effective development of essay writing skills among students. Literature shows teachers’ knowledge and skills in integrating the strengths of product, process and genre approaches to teaching writing skills is indispensable in nurturing competent essay writers. That is why this study sought to find out what approaches informed methods teachers used while teaching essay writing. The study adopted a qualitative case study design. Purposive sampling was used to select on public secondary school, two teachers of English and fourteen students for the study. This provided in-depth information with specific focus on methods teachers used to teach essay writing, challenges teachers faced and ways to address the challenges teachers faced while teaching essay writing. Data was collected using classroom observations, face-to-face guided interviews and Focus Group Discussions. Study findings revealed that teachers adopted the product approach to writing in implementing group work, questioning and lecture methods in the teaching of essay writing. Emanating challenges included insufficient pedagogical knowledge and skills, inadequate time allocated for essay writing and high student-teacher ratio. Subsequently, one of the suggested ways to address the challenges was for teachers to be engaged in continuous professional development programs to empower them with knowledge and skills on effective essay writing teaching. In view of these findings, initial teacher preparation and continuous professional development programs need to explicitly guide student-teachers and practicing teachers on approaches to writing to enable them adopt the process-genre approach in teaching essay writing.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library