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CHALLENGES STUDENTS FACE IN LEARNING ESSAY WRITING SKILLS IN ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MANGA DISTRICT, NYAMIRA COUNTY, KENYA

BY
NYANG’AU BENARD NYASIMI
E55/CE/14078/2009

A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION IN THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION KENYATTA UNIVERSITY

JULY 2013

* DECLARATION
This thesis is my original work and has not been presented for degree in any other university.
Signature: ______________________________ Date: ________________________
BY
NYANG’AU BENARD NYASIMI
E55/CE/14078/2009

We confirm that this thesis was carried out by the candidate under our supervision as university supervisors. Signature------------------------------------------------------ Date--------------------------
Dr .Sophia. Ndethiu.
Department of Educational Communication and Technology.
Kenyatta University.

Signature------------------------------------------------------ Date-------------------------
Dr. John. Kimemia.
Department of Educational Communication and Technology.
Kenyatta University.

* DEDICATION
This work is dedicated to my loving wife Zipporah Nyasimi and our sons Philemon Siko and Enock Ongeri .

* ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I wish to acknowledge the support of those individuals who made it possible for a successful completion of this work. Special thanks go to my supervisors Dr. Sophia Ndethiu and Dr. John. Kimemia for the support, guidance and encouragement they accorded to me through the entire process of proposal and thesis writing.Thanks also go to my lecturers who taught me various units during my course work: Prof. Ayot, Prof. Gathumbi, Dr Bwire,Dr. Kimui, Dr. Gitau and Dr. Ondigi. My sincere gratitude goes to my colleagues: Mose, Nyaberi, Damaris,Rose,Orechi and Obure for their encouragement and support as I went through my studies.
Special appreciations go to my parents Zephania Nyangau and Sibiah Moraa for their encouragement and financial support. I am also deeply indebted to my siblings: Gladys, Wyclife, Mary, Edwin, Alex and Deborah for their moral support and goodwill to take up this programme. Thanks also to Moureen for typing this work.
Finally, I sincerely wish to thank my wife Zipporah for her moral and financial support and our sons Philemon and Enock who have been a constant source of inspiration and joy. To all, I say thank you.

* ABSTRACT
The ability to achieve communicative competence in writing is a major facet of language development and academic success among students at all levels of the education system. Similarly, the ability to write well is essential as it influences students’ chances of personal and professional development and also their relations with other people. However, learning to master essay writing skills is a problem student’s face in secondary schools. This has been consistently reflected by Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) end year reports on candidates’ achievement in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) English language examination. The Ministry of Education (MoE) through the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) has established various intervention measures in an attempt to enable students acquire skills that will enable them to express their ideas effectively and clearly in writing. One of the interventions is the adoption of the integrated approach to teaching writing skills in order to help teachers to develop students’ written competence by providing adequate input of knowledge and skills in the writing process. However, despite the current concern for using the integrated approach to teaching writing skills, the KNEC reports have over the years consistently noted that students face challenges in the KCSE English language essay writing examination. Therefore, this study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning English as a Second Language (ESL) essay writing skills in secondary schools in Manga district, Nyamira County, Kenya. Relevant literature was reviewed so as to provide the rationale for the study. Some of the related studies reviewed include; the role of writing in academics, teaching approaches to writing, difficulties in Second Language (L2) writing, provision of feedback on students’ written essays and assessment practices. This study employed descriptive survey design. A total of 10 schools, 180 students and 10 teachers were sampled for the study. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select schools and students while convenient sampling was used to select teachers. Data were collected by the use of a questionnaire for students, interview schedule for teachers and essay writing test adopted from KNEC (2009). The validity and reliability of the instruments was established through a pilot study. Data collected were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the generated data and presented it descriptively using percentages, frequency counts and graphs. It is expected that the findings of this study will serve as a basis for making recommendations on how to improve the learning of writing skills among students.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
The ability to achieve communicative competence in writing is a major facet of language development and academic success among students at all levels of the education system. Writing is considered the most important skill that students require in order to enhance their personal development and academic success (Mukulu, et al. 2006). In addition, Adams and Keene (2000) note that learning to master writing skills can help students to deal successfully with their academic demands and to perform effectively in their disciplines and professional contexts. In the academic context, students are required to produce specific writing genres such as essays, summaries, note making, and reports (Dudley-Evans, 2001).

However, it has been noted that learning to write in either a first or second language is one of the most difficult task students encounter and one that few people can be said to fully master (Richards 2008). Similarly, Negari (2012) argues that learning to write is a difficult task regardless of whether the language in question is a first (L1), second (L2) or foreign language (FL). Kroll (2003) also observes that writing is a complex process that involves the mastery of multiple skills that contribute to the overall difficulty of writing for any language user. Thus, it is a challenging and difficult skill for both native and non-native speakers to acquire. According to Hadley (1993), writing requires composing, which implies the ability either to tell pieces of information the form of narratives or description, or transform information into new texts, as in expository or argumentative writing. Therefore, it is viewed as a continuum of activities that range from the more mechanical or formal aspects of writing to the more complex act of composing.
Tangpermpoon (2008) points out that when compared with other language skills of listening, speaking and reading, writing is the most difficult skill to learn because it requires writers to have a great deal of lexical and syntactic knowledge as well as principles of organization in L2 to produce a good written text. On the other hand, Myles (2002) observes that the ability to write well is not naturally acquired from the environment through exposure to the language. He argues that writing is learned or culturally transmitted as a set of practices in formal instructional setting. Similarly, Byrne (2000) notes that writing is learned through a process of instruction in which the student is expected to master the written form of the language and to learn certain structures that are not common in speech but which are vital for effective written communication. He further observes that conscious effort must be made to equip language learners with writing skills which will enable them to organize their ideas so that a reader who is not present and even known to them can understand. In addition, Hyland (2002) asserts that writing is an activity which must be mastered in order for students to express their ideas effectively in writing.

In Kenya, English language is taught as a second language and it is also the country’s official language, as well as the Language of Instruction (LOI) in schools, colleges and universities. Assessment on achievement in language and other subjects in the curriculum is through writing. It is also a skill that draws from other language skills of listening, speaking and writing. The Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) English language syllabus (2002) recognizes writing as an advanced language skill that has wide ranging implications for the way we think and learn. It states that in order to be successful in any academic discipline, the ability to write well is essential as it influences students’ chances of success, personal development and relations with other people. The syllabus further emphasizes the need to encourage learners to achieve competence in writing using language structures they have learnt. The learning objectives pertaining to writing as spelt out in the syllabus include the ability to; write clearly and correctly for a wide variety of purposes and functions, use effectively the main structures of English language by writing logically and coherently on a given topic, and demonstrate acceptable habits both in spoken and written communication.
Ong’ondo (2001) points out that there are two broad categories of writing that are tested in the KCSE English language composition examination. The first is the functional writing, which is writing that is appropriate to a particular purpose, for example, writing of letters, minutes, reports, notices, speeches, book reviews, and memorandum among others. The second is the creative writing; this is writing that implies the ability either to tell or retell pieces of information in the form of narration, description or to transform information into new texts as in expository and argumentative writing. This study focused on creative writing. Creative writing tests students’ abilities on the mastery of different writing skills. These skills have been broadly classified by Gathumbi and Masembe (2005) into two categories: basic and advanced. Basic skills involve good handwriting, proper spelling and correct punctuation. Advanced skills are those related to proper organization of ideas, correct use of grammar and originality of expression. Graham and Perin (2007) claim that a well written piece of composition focuses on the topic and has an organizational pattern that enables a reader to follow the flow of ideas. It also contains supporting ideas that are developed through the use of examples, appropriate vocabulary and follows the conventions of standard written English language such as; correct spelling, capitalization and sentence structure.

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC, 2006) spells out that learners are required to write essays based on the set books. However, essay writing is an area that has received frequent criticism. One particular concern has been with persistent students’ errors in the KCSE English essay writing examination. The KNEC report for the year (2008) results noted that most students wrote essays that were irrelevant, sketchy and gave dismal accounts. Candidates also made frequent construction errors, hence making their essays minimally intelligible. This is an observation that has persisted to the present. The KNEC report for the year (2010) results noted that many candidates showed low level of content mastery since a number of them gave literal translations and not the sense conveyed, wrote irrelevant pieces, demonstrated poor word choice, grammar, spellings, and lacked logical argument and coherence. This is depicted by the KCSE performance in essay writing (English Paper 3) in the National Level as shown in table 1.1:
Table 1.1: Candidates’ Overall Performance in English Paper 3 for the 5 Years Year | Candidature | Maximum Score | Mean Score (%) | 2006 | 241,983 | 60 | 18.73 (31.55%) | 2007 | | 60 | | 2008 | 300,794 | 60 | 20.25 (33.75%) | 2009 | 335,415 | 60 | 20.81 (34.68%) | 2010 | 354,935 | 60 | 18.64 (30.54%) |
Source: KNEC Report, 2011
Table 1.1 reveals that performance in essay writing at KCSE in the National level has been below average. Difficulties students face in L2 essay writing have been partly attributed to inadequate practice and teaching of essay writing (KNEC, 2009). What this has meant is that teachers do not adequately teach all aspects of essay writing and give students adequate practice in answering all types of essay questions. Reporting on students’ low achievement in essay writing, the KNEC report for the year (2011) noted that most students failed to read and understand the set texts and literally concepts hence they wrote irrelevant essays and gave dismal accounts. In declining low achievement in creative composition writing, Moochi (2008) carried out a research to compare the performance of boys and girls in Kiswahili creative composition writing in selected secondary schools in Nyamira district. The findings revealed that girls significantly outweighed boys in Kiswahili creative composition writing. The results also indicated that the errors both boys and girls committed were due to: L1 interference, semantic limitation, failure to proofread and edit written compositions, failure to master grammatical rules, syntactical and derivational morphological rules.

In an attempt to assist students acquire skills that will enable them to express their ideas clearly and effectively in writing, the Ministry of Education (MoE) established the new curriculum in English language in 2002. With the introduction of this curriculum, the English language syllabus adopts an integrated approach to the teaching of language. The four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are integrated in such a way that they complement each other. For instance, the English language syllabus recommends the use of class readers and literature set books as sources of writing tasks. Through reading, the learner is exposed to new vocabulary, new sentence structures, different registers and good models of language use. Thus, what learners read could form the basis of their oral presentations or essay writing. However, despite the current concern for using the integrated approach to teaching writing skills, the KNEC reports have over the years consistently shown that students face challenges in English language essay writing at KCSE level. In Manga district, performance in English language at KCSE level has been low. Table 1.2 shows students’ performance in English language in Manga district at KCSE level for a period of four years.

Table 1.2 Students’ Performance in English Language at KCSE level in Manga District from 2008 to 2011 Year | Candidature | Mean score | Mean Grade | 2008 | 1679 | 4.315 | D+ (Plus) | 2009 | 1704 | 4.087 | D+ (Plus) | 2010 | 1693 | 4.961 | C- (Minus) | 2011 | 1857 | 5.406 | C- (Minus) | 2012 | 1671 | 5.273 | C- (Minus) |
Source: DEO’s Office Manga District, 2012
From table 1.2, it is evident that performance in English language at KCSE level in Manga district has been generally below average. Despite the low achievement in the English language, little has been done to establish challenges students face in learning essay writing skills. It is against this background that this study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning essay writing skills in English as a second language in secondary schools in Manga district, Nyamira County, Kenya. 1.2 Statement of the problem
The ability to write appropriately and effectively is considered a major part of written communicative competence among students at all levels of the education system. However, learning to master essay writing skills is a problem students face in secondary schools. The KNEC reports on candidates’ achievement in English language essay writing at KCSE level have over the years consistently shown that students face various challenges in essay writing. The KNEC report for the year (2010) results noted that many candidates wrote irrelevant pieces, demonstrated poor word choice, grammar, spellings, and lacked logical argument and coherence. This problem has been partly attributed to inadequate practice and teaching of essay writing and failure to read and understand the set texts and literally concepts on the part of most students (KNEC 2011). However, little has been done to establish challenges students face in learning essay writing skills at secondary school level. Therefore, this study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning essay writing skills in English as a second language in secondary schools in Manga district and make recommendations on how to improve the learning of writing skills among students.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The study was guided by the following objectives: i. To determine methods teachers use in teaching essay writing skills. ii. To investigate challenges that student’s face in learning essay writing skills. iii. To establish strategies students employ in learning essay writing skills. iv. To make suggestions on how to improve the learning of essay writing skills among students.
1.4 Research questions
The following research questions were addressed in this study. i. Which methods do teachers use in teaching essay writing skills? ii. What challenges do students face in learning essay writing skills? iii. Which strategies do students employ in learning essay writing skills? iv. What suggestions can be made for purposes of improving the learning of essay writing skills among students?
1.5 Significance of the study
The findings of this study will be significant to: i. English language curriculum developers who will access knowledge regarding challenges facing students in learning essay writing skills as a basis for pedagogic recommendations. ii. English language teachers will benefit from the information on challenges students face in learning essay writing skills and relevant recommendations hence helping them to adopt teaching strategies that will enhance effective learning among students. iii. Students will benefit as this study will lead to efforts to improve the learning of writing skills in secondary schools. iv. Scholars will obtain information on problems encountered by students in learning essay writing skills and the study will also serve as a basis for further research in this area.

1.6. Scope and limitations of the study
The study was carried out in public secondary schools in Manga District, Nyamira County, Kenya. It focused on challenges students face in learning essay writing skills in English as second language secondary schools in Manga District. Respondents for the study were 180 form three students and 10 English language teachers who were drawn from a sample of 10 schools out of 26 public secondary schools in Manga District.
1.7 Assumptions of the study
The following assumptions were made: i. Learners are taught by competent and trained English language teachers. ii. Teachers follow the same prescribed syllabus by the KIE and hence the content is the same in all schools. iii. Essay writing is a reliable measure of written communicative competence in English language. iv. Successful writing depends on more than the ability to produce grammatically correct sentences.
1.8 Theoretical framework
This study was based on the Process Genre Approach theoretical model for teaching writing skills (Badger and White, 2000), which recognizes that effective methodology for writing needs to incorporate the insights from product, process and genre approaches. Tangpermpoon (2008) claims that by integrating the three approaches, the strengths of each approach can successfully complement each other and help teachers to develop students’ written competence by providing appropriate input of knowledge and skills in the writing process. According to Badger and White (2000), the production of a written text involves the consideration of purpose, the process, that is, the stages the writer goes through to produce a text, and knowledge of appropriate language use. Therefore, during the writing lessons the teacher is encouraged to provide sufficient support for learners to identify the purpose and other aspects of social context as well as help in using appropriate language skills. Students are also expected to draw on their linguistic skills, for example, vocabulary, grammar, and organization and use appropriate skills, such as drafting, redrafting and proofreading to produce texts which reflect the situation from which they rise.
Badger and White (2000) argue that the development of writing in a process genre approach classroom is said to take place when teachers draw out the potential of learners as well as provide appropriate input to them. It must also be realized that the development will vary between different groups of learners because they are at different stages of their writing development, for example, students who have knowledge on the production of the particular genre, and are skilled in it, may require little or no input. Some may be aware of how the potential audience may constrain what is written, while another group may lack knowledge of what language is appropriate to a particular audience. Thus, these two groups will require different input. The teacher is therefore required to assess the needs of the particular group to determine the kind of input needed.
Badger and White (2000) identify three possible sources of input in a process genre approach classroom: the teacher, other learners and samples of the target genre. Teachers provide input in terms of instruction on language use and content. For instance, by asking learners to think about why they are writing a particular essay or story. An alternative to this can be a demonstration by the teacher or other skilled writers possibly accompanied by a commentary on the mental processes that underlie the exercise or the skill. On the other hand, students can do the same in group discussion or observing other students’ written texts. Samples from the targeted genres can also be an important source of input about contextual and linguistic knowledge. Dudley-Evans (1997) also suggests that teaching and learning resources such as flow charts can also be used to illustrate the organization of particular genres. Tangermpoon (2008) points out that, by learning through the integrated approach, students will have less difficulties in L2 writing since they have enough input to create their writing tasks. This therefore implies that teaching strategies teachers use influence the learning of L2 writing skills among students. Drawn from this theoretical model are various aspects of the integrated approach that influence the learning of L2 writing skills. Integrated approach allows for collaborative learning and effective interaction between teachers and students in L2 writing classrooms. For instance, by working in groups, learners interact freely and also develop their critical thinking. It also enables teachers to monitor students’ progress at every writing stage to determine the kind of input needed, as well as using teaching and learning resources to illustrate the organization of a particular genre, the desired outcomes will be effective learning and achievement in essay writing among students. Thus, adopting the integrated approach to teaching L2 essay writing skills the possible expected outcomes will be effective learning and achievement in essay writing among students. Therefore, based on the ideas and concepts of this theoretical model, the study sought to establish challenges students face in learning L2 essay writing skills in secondary schools in Manga District, Nyamira county Kenya.
1.9 Conceptual framework
The conceptual framework of this study will be adapted from the Process Genre Approach theoretical model for teaching writing skills (Badger and White, 2000), which holds the view that effective methodology for writing needs to incorporate the insights from product, process and genre approaches in order to develop students’ written communicative competence. Similarly, Tangpermpoon (2008) claims that by integrating the three approaches, the strengths of each approach can successfully complement each other and help teachers to develop students’ written competence by providing appropriate input of knowledge and skills in the writing process.
Drawn from this theoretical model are various aspects of the integrated approach that influence learning of L2 writing skills. Badger and White (2000) point out that adopting the integrated approach into teaching writing skills allows for collaborative learning and effective interaction between teachers and students in L2 writing classrooms. For instance, by working in groups or pairs, learners interact freely and also develop their critical thinking. It also enables teachers to monitor students’ progress at every writing stage to determine the kind of input needed, as well as using teaching and learning resources to illustrate the organization of a particular genre. Thus, adopting the integrated approach to the teaching of L2 essay writing skills, the possible desired outcomes will be effective learning and achievement in essay writing among students. This conceptual framework is shown in figure 1.1 below.

Figure. 1.1 Conceptual Framework of the Study Problem
Challenges students face in learning ESL essay writing skills * Teacher centered teaching methods * Inadequate teaching and learning resources * Inadequate assessment and feedback provision

Intervention measures

Integrated teaching approach * Collaborative learning * Use of teaching and learning resources * Feedback provision on students’ written essays * Regular assessment in essay writing

Expected outcome * Effective learning of essay writing skills * Achievement in essay writing among students

Source: Adapted from Badger and White (2000)
2.10. Operational definition of key terms
Achievement: Successful accomplishment of a task in essay writing usually by reasons of skill, hard work and interest.
Challenges: Difficulties students face in the process of learning essay writing skills. Comprehensible input: Knowledge of L2 essay writing that the learner understands and which is suitable for his or her level of learning. .
Communicative competence: The ability that students need to develop in order to express them effectively in L2 essay writing. Effective interaction: Refers to a process of actively involving students in essay writing lessons that incorporate learning activities such as questioning, explaining and discussion.
Effective learning: A process that produces a desired outcome in essay writing among students.
Effective methodology: Refers to teaching methods employed by teachers that facilitate learning of essay writing skills among students.
Effective teaching: A process that produces the desired result in learning essay writing skills.
Essay: A piece of writing which requires logical and coherent argument used in the assessment of students such as narrative, discursive, description among others.
Improvement: The process of making the learning of writing skills better.
Learning: A process of gaining knowledge or skills on English language essay writing skills.
Learning strategies: Techniques that students use to improve their own progress in learning essay writing skills in English as a second language.
Performance: Refers to the total number of points which a student obtains in an essay writing task.
Second language: A language learnt through study by a student other than the mother tongue.
Strategy: Refers to techniques used by students to facilitate the process of learning essay writing skills.

CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0 Introduction
The chapter covers a review of literature related to the study. It covers the following: the role of writing in academics, writing integrated with other language skills, teaching methods to writing, challenges in second language writing, second language learning strategies, improving second language writing, research in essay writing and summary of the literature review.
2.1 Role of Writing in Academics
Writing is considered the most important language skill that students require for their personal development and academic success (Mukulu, et al. 2006).Similarly, Rao (2007) points out that writing strengthens students’ learning, thinking and reflecting on the English language in their academics. In addition, Ahmed (2010) notes that competence in essay writing help students pass all their academic courses successfully. Moreover, being proficient in essay writing in English will enable students to be professionals and action researchers in the future. However, it has been noted that learning to master writing skills is a problem students face at all levels of the education system. Ong’ondo (2001) notes that writing skills are of major importance to students at all levels of the education system. This is so as he points out that most examinations and assignments learners do at schools are mainly assessed through writing. It is probably because of this crucial role in assessment that writing has been considered the most important skill that students require for their academic advancement. Similarly, the KIE English syllabus (2002) states that in order to be successful in any academic discipline, the ability to write well is essential. This implies that learners should be helped to acquire skills that will enable them to express their ideas clearly and effectively in writing. Kroll (2003) notes that improving the writing abilities of students has both academic and social implications. He observes that helping students to write clearly, logically and coherently about ideas, knowledge and views will expand their access to higher education and give them an opportunity for advancement in the work force. He further observes that the current trends of globalization and internet revolution have come to require proficiency in English language that goes beyond the spoken language embracing a variety of uses of the written language. Among such uses include; writing of business letters, memos and telephone messages. This further underscores the importance of learning writing skills. However, there has been a considerable concern that majority of the students do not develop the competence in writing they need to be successful in school, workplace, or their personal lives (Graham and Perin, 2007). It is against this observation that the study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning L2 essay writing skills at secondary school level and make recommendations on how to improve the learning of writing skills among students.
2.2 Writing Integrated With Other Skills
There are four language skills namely; listening, speaking, reading and writing. Ouma (2005) observes that the development of the four language skills is very important in every language classroom and that any inquiry into writing endeavours among students presupposes effective understanding of the other three skills. Similarly, Cope and Kalantzis (2000) point out that for learners to become proficient L2 writers they require explicit mastery of the other language skills of listening, speaking and reading. Ikeguchi (1997) presented a lesson plan combining the teaching of writing with reading, speaking and listening. The lesson was presented in three phases. In the first phase students were allowed to choose any one topic that they were most interested in, and something that they wanted to know more about. Then, they were asked to look for a short passage from a magazine or a newspaper article, and read thoroughly until they understood the content, and make a copy to bring to class. The second phase was the interactive phase in which students who had chosen the same topic were called to sit together and form a group. They were then asked to take turns in reading each of their articles to the group members, while everybody else listened and then asked questions to clarify points that were unclear. The third phase was the writing stage. Students were asked to get back to their seats and write about the topic they had chosen to read. The findings indicated that students were able to write freely and expressed themselves meaningfully in L2 writing.
Byrd and Reid (1998) have also pointed out that curriculum design in L2 writing instruction should include grammar and vocabulary to enable L2 writers communicate meaningfully and appropriately. For instance, to help students notice how particular grammar and lexis are employed in authentic written texts and discourse, teachers can select readings from a wide array of genres such as narrative, exposition or argumentation. Thus, based on reading content, practice in text analysis can become a useful springboard for an instructional focus on the specific uses of grammar, structure and contextualized vocabulary. Similarly, instruction can address the features of written register by bringing learners’ attention to the situational variables of language in context, such as, e-mail messages, new reports, or written essays, and their attendant linguistic and discourse features (Celce-murcia and Olshtain, 2000). In Kenya, the MoE English language syllabus by KIE (2001) adopts an integrated approach to the teaching of English language. The four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are integrated in such a way that they complement each other. For instance, the English language syllabus recommends the use of class readers and literature set books as sources of writing tasks. Through reading, the learner is exposed to new vocabulary, new sentence structures, different registers and good models of language use. Thus, what learners read could form the basis of their oral presentations or essay writing.
From the foregoing, it is evident that by integrating writing with other language skills it helps teachers to develop students’ writing competence by exposing students to a variety of writing sources. Therefore, the study sought to establish whether teachers adopted the integrated approach to teaching writing and its implication for effective learning of essay writing skills among students.
2.3 Teaching Methods to Writing
Sengupta (2000) notes that teaching methods teachers use have measurable effects on the quality of the students’ written products. Archibald (2001) also observes that teaching has an effect on the students’ ability to reflect on their writing and to produce more effective and appropriate texts in L2 language. However, it has been realized that teaching writing skills to L2 students is a challenging task for teachers because developing this skill takes a long time to realize the improvement (Tangpermpoon, 2008). It is therefore important to establish teaching approaches teachers use in L2 writing classrooms since it has been observed that different methods teachers employ influence students’ success in L2 writing. Approaches to teaching writing skills have variously targeted product, process and genre (purpose) of writing (Badger and White, 2000).
2.3.1 Product Approach
According to Silva (1990), the product approach for teaching writing skills highlights form and syntax and it emphasizes rhetorical drills. The product approach mainly focuses on the written product rather than the process the learner should undergo to produce a good written text. In this approach, writing concerns the knowledge about the structure of a language, and writing development is a result of the imitation of input, in the form of texts provided by the teacher (Badger and White, 2000). Similarly, Myles (2002) confirms that if the students are not exposed to written model texts, their errors in writing are more likely to persist. In addition, Jordan (1997) indicates that the students are required to focus on a model, form, and duplication. In other words, the students study model texts and attempt various exercises that enable them to draw attention to relevant features of a text, and then rewrite them in their own writing.
However, there are also weaknesses associated with the use of the product-based writing. Badger and White (2000) point out that, this approach gives little attention to audience and the writing purpose since learners and instructors tend to overemphasize on the importance of grammar, syntax, and mechanics. Process skills such as pre-writing, drafting, evaluating and revising are given relatively small role, and the knowledge and skills that learners bring to the classroom are undervalued. Thus, students may lack motivation in learning and have high pressure in creating their writing tasks, as their instructors mostly focus on the accuracy of the language structures. It is against this background that the study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning essay writing skills.
2.3.2 Process Approach
Hyland (2002) indicates that the process approach focuses on how a text is written instead of the final outcome. He adds that the process approach has a major influence on understanding the nature of writing and the way writing is taught. Therefore, the process approach emphasizes on the importance of certain procedures such as pre-writing, drafting, evaluating and revising. He points out that the process approach involves introducing techniques that help the students identify and engage in a topic. Students are required to produce multiple drafts of a work. After discussion and feedback from evaluators, the students would revise the drafts. Rewriting, revision and editing are essential parts to writing in this approach. In a similar vein, Jordan (1997) states that process writing enables the students to make clear decisions about the direction of their writing by certain procedures such as discussion, drafting, feedback and revision choices.
Tribble (1996) explains that when using the process-based approach to teaching academic writing, students should first brainstorm in small groups the topic to be discussed in writing; this helps them to generate ideas before starting to write. This is followed by making an outline of the essay. At this stage students also revise their first drafts and give them to other students for pre-reviewing and commenting on. The final stage is editing the essay by the writer himself or herself to eliminate any language errors. Thus, this approach focuses on process rather than product.
Boughey (1997) points out that process approach is one of the best methods for teachers to use in teaching L2 writing skills. He notes that students are able improve their writing abilities step by step since teachers will guide them through the whole process of their writing tasks by giving them feedback and enough time and opportunity through peer and teacher review. Similarly, Myles(2002) observe that process approach enables the students to understand the steps involved in writing and recognizes learners’ efforts toward the development of their writing abilities input bring to the writing classroom contributes to the development of their writing abilities. It also helps students develop their critical thinking and learn not to depend only on teacher’s feedback.
Although, there are many benefits of using this method in teaching writing skills, the process-based approach has been criticized for some reasons. Badger and White (2000) argue that learners have to spend quite a long time to complete one particular piece of writing in the classroom. They also point out that this may decrease students’ learning motivation and impede them from learning other types of writing. In critiquing the process approach to teaching writing, Freeman and Freeman (2004) argue that it is time consuming when dealing with large classes. This is so because teachers may not have enough time to schedule individual writing conferences in large classes.
In order to alleviate the weaknesses associated with this approach, Badger and White (2000) suggest that teachers should provide learners with some examples of the text type that they have to write so as to allow them have a clear understanding about the aim and framework of a particular writing type. In addition, teachers should not spend too much time on one piece of writing in the class and should train students to develop a concept of audience by taking turns giving comments on their classmates’ writing.
From the foregoing, it is evident that the teaching methods adopted by teachers influence students’ learning and achievement in L2 writing. This study sought to find out methods teachers used in teaching L2 essay writing skills.

2.3.3 The Genre Approach
According to Badger and White (2000), the genre or eclectic approach is considered as the most effective and successive in the teaching of writing skills. The genre approach combines process theories with genre knowledge and also emphasizes on the social context in which writing is produced. In other words, this approach provides the learner with opportunities for developing their individual creativity as well as helping them fully understand the features of the target genres. Giving the knowledge of form and language at the same time helps the student to understand how a particular form functions in a specific context; in this way, learners’ writing proficiency can be enhanced (Kim and Kim2005).In addition, Tangpermpoon (2008) explains that the focus of writing in this approach aims to integrate the knowledge of a particular genre and its communicative purpose. Thus, helping learners to produce their written products to communicate to others in the same discourse community successfully. Nunan (1999) notes that the genre approach to writing emphasizes the need for studying different types of texts. This is so as he explains that different genres of writing are typified by a particular structure and by grammatical forms that reflect the communicative purpose of the genre. Similarly, by studying different genres, students can perceive the differences in structure and form and apply what they learn to their own writing (Cope and Kalantzis, 2000).They further suggest that, for instance, in the academic writing context, writing tasks can be introduced that are based on different genres such as genres of essays, editorials and business letters for students to achieve similar communicative purposes.
Matsuda (2003) views the learning of specific genre construction as a way of helping learners to come up with appropriate actual writing in their real life outside the classroom. It also increases students’ awareness of such writing conventions as organization, arrangement, form, and genre. Thus, the aim of the genre approach in writing is to help students master the convention of a particular form of genre that is relevant to their specific situation (Flowerdew, 2000). However, the genre approach has also been criticized for some reasons. Badger and White (2000) point out that, the genre approach undervalues the writing skills which learners need to produce a written product and ignores the writing abilities learners have in other areas .Another reason is that learners may not have enough knowledge of appropriate language or vocabulary to express what they intend to communicate to a specific audience.
From the foregoing, it is realized that teaching writing skills to L2 students is a challenging task. In addition, using a single teaching approach may not achieve the desired learning outcome since the weaknesses of each approach tend to impede students’ writing development. Thus, teachers need to incorporate the insights of the three approaches; product, process, and genre approaches into the teaching of writing skills in order to develop students’ writing competence. Therefore, the study sought to establish teaching methods teachers use in L2 writing lessons and their implications for effective learning of essay writing skills among students.
2.4 Challenges in Second Language Writing
Writing in a second language seems to be the most difficult language skill for language learners to acquire in academic context (Negari 2012). Myles (2002) argues that various social and cognitive factors help us in assessing the underlying reasons why L2 learners exhibit particular writing errors. According to Myles (2002), social factors that influence second language writing include motivation and attitudes. Similarly, Ellis (2003) argues that social factors explain why learners differ in the rate of L2 learning and in proficiency type, for instance, conversational versus writing ability. Research based on motivation and attitudes shows that, learners with positive attitudes and motivation towards writing for academic purposes experience success unlike those with negative attitudes (McGroarty 1996).
Myles (2002) suggests that for teachers to motivate students in writing for academic purposes, they should encourage students to read academic texts and work with other students who are more acquainted with the discourse. However, if they do not engage in the text or actively contribute during the study sessions, these activities will have little effect on students’ progress. Thus, if students are motivated to write in L2, they will develop a higher level of proficiency and positive attitudes, which can have a positive effect on their writing.
According to Myles (2002), cognitive processes involved in second language writing are learning strategies and language transfer. Due to the complex process of writing in a second language, learners often find it difficult to develop all aspects of the writing stages simultaneously. As a result, they select to use only those aspects that are automatic or have already been proceduralized (O’Malley and Chamot, 1990). Therefore students need to develop particular learning strategies that isolate component mental processes. O’Malley and Chamot, (1990) have further differentiated the strategies into three categories: meta cognitive, such as planning the organization of the written discourse or monitoring, that is, being aware of what one is doing and responding appropriately to the demands of the writing task; cognitive such as transferring or using known linguistic information to facilitate the new learning task or using imagery for recalling, and using social strategies, for instance, group discussions. Thus, learner strategies can be effective, but they need to be internalized so that that they may be utilized in advance writing situation.
Language transfer is another cognitive factor that influences L2 writing. Ellis (2003) notes that when writing or speaking in a second language situation, L2 learners tend to rely on their (L1) structures to provide responses. If the structures of the two languages are distinctly different, then one could expect a relatively high frequency of errors to occur in L2, thus, indicating an interference of L1 on L2 writing. Similarly, Kern (2000) notes that because learners are less familiar and less confident with structural elements of a new language, rhetorical and cultural conventions, writing in L2 can have errors and be less effective that writing in L1. Ellis (2003) suggests that writers need to receive adequate L2 input in order to form new hypotheses about syntactic and rhetorical form in the target language. In addition, if students are exposed to native like models of written texts, their errors in L2 writing are likely to be minimal. In addition, Nunan (1999) considers it an enormous challenge to produce a coherent, fluent, extended piece of writing in one’s L2. He points out that this is magnified by the fact that rhetorical conventions of English language, that is, structure, style and organization often differ from those in other languages.For students to write appropriately in L2, Darus and Subramaniam (2009), suggest that the students need to understand the differences between L1 and L2, if the structures of the two languages are distinctly different. They note that it is important for teachers to make the students aware of the differences in the structure of these languages. They further suggest that teachers should highlight certain rules in L1 that are not appropriate to be used when students write in L2. They argue that this is to ensure that the students apply correct strategies while writing in L2 and hence, decrease the occurrence of errors.
Davidson (2005) points out that students face difficulties in L2 writing, due to a number of factors involved in the act of communication. The English Language itself has a lot of irregularities and idiosyncrasies which create a myriad of difficulties in writing especially for second language learners. An example is English spellings. A word that is incorrectly spelled is not only a deviation from the standard but adversely affects the intended meaning.Spelling and the decoding skills are closely linked and students who suffer from spelling problem need to memorize the spellings of commonly used irregular words such as right and government. Davidson (2005) also notes that students usually commit mistakes in using comas full stops semi colons and colons which affect communication process.In addition,capitalization problems are part of the punctuation difficulties which may be the result of inadequate learning or inefficient teaching.
Kleisar (2005) notes that grammar is the most difficult area for L2 writers .Students face challen ges in the use of correct sentence structure and paragraph development, and in creating coherent form. Grammar skills include run-on sentences, use of different type sentences, subject verb agreement, placement of modifiers, tense agreement and parallel construction. Another problem learners face in L2 writing is that of organization of ideas. The information which is well organized is easier to remember and understand (Grab and Kaplan, 1996).Similarly, Bex (1996) points out that coherence is an implicit feature of a text which describes the logical relationship between the ideas and information embodied in discourse and that coherence is helped by cohesion which is the process of cohering on sentence to the next sentence. Similarly Ahmed (2010) argues that producing a coherent and well organized piece of writing is a challenging task. This is magnified by the fact that the rhetorical conventions of English texts such as the structure, organization, lexis an grammar differ from those of other languages.
From the forgoing, it is evident that second language learners often face various difficulties in L2 writing. It is on the light of this observation that the study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning essay writing skills in secondary schools and suggest intervention measures to mitigate the problem.

2.5 Second Language Learning Strategies
Chamot (2005) defines strategies as procedures that facilitate a learning task. Strategies are most often conscious and goal driven and that they vary considerably within each individual. They are techniques employed to solve problems resulting from L2 input and output (Brown, 2007).According to Brown (2007) strategies are classified into three categories: metacognitive, cognitive and social affective strategies.
Metacognitive strategies are involve planning for learning, thinking about the learning process as it is taking place, monitoring of ones production or comprehension, and evaluating learning after an activity is completed. Cognitive strategies are more limited to specific learning tasks and involve more direct manipulation of the learning material itself. Involves strategies such as; translation, grouping, notetaking, auditory representation, deduction, imagery,elaboration,transfer and inferencing, that is, using available information to guess meaning of new items, predict outcomes or fill in missing information. Social affective strategies have to do with working with one or more peers to obtain feedback and asking questions for clarification.
Language learning strategies(LLB) are specific actions, behaviour, steps or techniques that students use to improve their progressive in developing L2 skills(chamut, 2005) He further notes that they are procedures that facilitate the learning task and they vary considerably within each individual. Rubin(1997) views LLS as process which contribute to development of the language system which the learner constructs and affects learning the L2 help them through the process of learning the L2 due to the differences between L1 and L2 and the environmental conditions under which they learn the L2.
Brown (2007)
Research in L2 learning has established that L2 learners employ certain language startegies for more succeessiful language learning. These strategies are used because learners encounter the language when another is already established and this is likely to bring about errors in second language acquisition(SLA) and the development of an interlanguage (Omulando, 2009). Successiful langage learners are able to self regulate during langage learning process( Dornyei,2005). Good language learners have been shown to frequently use a large number of LLS related to managing their own learning, to vocabulary grammar to the use of resources and to all four language skills( Griffins,2013).
Hismanoglu(2000) notes that all language learners use LLS either consciously or unconsciously when processing new information and performing tasks classroom is like a problem solving environment in which language learners are likely to face new input and difficult tasks solved by the instructors. Similarly Skenah (2003) points out that learners are required to adopt a range of LLS which are relatively uncommon in traditional instructions that is, learners are required to be adaptive, creative, incentive and most of all independent. I this sence learners are seen as constructors of language learning knowledge.
Macaro(2003) describes LLS as actions that learners take in order to decode, process, score and retrieve language for example deciding to skip an unknown word in the text and to come back to it later is a learner strategy. While Oxford (2001) describes them as the decisions learners take to make the learning process easier, faster and more enjoyable. These two scholars reveal the fact that, LLS are processes that learners engage in the process of learning language. Strategies learners uses greatly influence their LS learning. Therefore teachers should encourage learners because it is noted by Griffins (2006) learners from all cultural backgrounds can be successful language learners.
From the foregoing, it is evident that strategies learners use greatly influence their LS learning. Learners should therefore adapt those strategies that will enable them make progress in L2 learning( Omulando, 2009).
On the other hand, teachers should also encourage learners because learners from all cultural backgrounds can be successful language learners( Griffins,2006). Therefore, the study investigated the strategies students should employ in the process of learning L2 writing skills.
2.6 Improving Students’ Writing Skills
2.6.1 The Role of Feedback on Students’ Written Essays
Williams (2005) points out that feedback on ESL students’ written assignments is an essential aspect of improving learners’ ability in any L2 writing course. Kroll (2003) describes it as one of the two components most central to any writing task with the other being the assignments students are given in class. Thus, the goal of feedback is to teach skills that help students to improve their writing proficiency to the point where they recognize what is expected of them as writers . Williams (2005) identifies two common categories of feedback: feedback on form and feedback on content. He observes that the most common methods of feedback on form include outright teacher correction of surface errors, teacher markings that indicate the place and type of error but without correction, and underlining to indicate the presence of errors. On the other hand, feedback on content consists mainly of comments written by teachers on drafts that usually point out problems and offer suggestions for improvements on future rewrites. Students are therefore expected to incorporate information from the comments when doing their corrections.
However, the outright correction of surface errors has been found to be inconsistent, unclear and overemphasizes the negative (Fregeau, 1999). He notes that when this type of feedback is given students do not understand why the errors were indicated and simply guess the corrections as they rewrite. In addition, it makes students to focus more on surface errors than on the clarity of their ideas. Just as with feedback on form, many faults have been found with teacher practices of providing feedback on content (Leki, 1990 and Fathman and Whalley, 1990). Fathman and Whalley (1990) note that teacher feedback on content in the form of comments is often contradictory, unsystematic and inconsistent. This leads to various reactions by students including confusion, frustration and neglect of the comments. Leki (1990) reports that when presented with written feedback on content, students react in three main ways. First, students may not read the comments at all. Second, they may read them but not understand them. Third, students may understand them but not know how to respond to them. Thus, teacher comments are of little use if students do not know what they mean or how to use them productively to improve their writing skills.
Despite these negative aspects, there are effective points to some of the common methods teachers use in giving feedback on student written essays. Fathman and Whalley (1990) discovered that when students receive grammar feedback that indicates the place but not the type of errors, the students significantly improved their grammar scores on subsequent rewrites of the compositions. This idea is supported by Frodesen (2001), who notes that indirect feedback is more useful than direct correction. Written feedback has also been found to be effective when it is coupled with student-teacher conferencing (Fregeau 1999). Conferencing allows both students and teachers a chance to trace the causes of the problems arising from student writing and feedback, and to develop strategies for improvement. He further observes that during this session teachers can ask direct questions to students in order to gain a deeper understanding of students’ writings. Also, students are able to express, their ideas more clearly in writing and to get clarification on any comments that teachers have made. Finally, teachers can use conferencing to assist students with any specific problems relating to their writing.
In order to provide appropriate and effective feedback on students’ written compositions,Williams (2005) suggests that to lessen student confusion, teachers should consistently use a standard set of symbols to indicate place and type of errors and train the students on how to effectively use the feedback in order to make gains in their proficiency and competence as L2 writers. Gathumbi and Masembe (2005) observe that in order to give learners controlled and guided self- correction, the teacher can write in the margin the type of mistakes made or point out the locations of the mistakes by the use of standard symbols such as: sp……..spelling gm………grammar hw………handwriting p………..punctuation rp……….repetition s/p……..singular/plural
?m…….meaning
wv…….wrong vocabulary wo…......wrong word order wm……. word missing ww…….wrong words ill…….illogical ideas t………..wrong tense pr……….wrong preposition cn………wrong conjunction
٨………minor omission
٨٨…….major omissions
From the foregoing, it is noted that feedback on students’ written essays plays a key role in energizing the learning process among students. It is also evident that methods of teacher feedback on students’ written assignments influence the developing of their writing skills. In view of this, it was imperative to establish whether teachers provide feedback on students’ written essays and its influence on effective learning of L2 essay writing skills among students.
2.6.2 Assessment of Students’ Writing skills
According to Isaacson (1996), assessment of students’ writing abilities is an integral part of effective teaching and learning. He argues that a teacher cannot ensure students’ success and make necessary adjustments in instruction without engaging in frequent assessment. He further asserts that self-assessment helps students take ownership for their own writing and enable them internalize the skills they are learning. In addition, effective assessment of a student’s writing requires the teacher to have a conceptual model of written expression taking into account purpose, process and product. Taking into account the purpose of assessing students’ writing abilities, Airasian (1996) identifies three types of classroom assessments. The first is the sizing up assessment, usually done to provide the teacher with quick information about the students’ entry behaviours before planning for their instruction. The second is the instructional assessment, used for the daily tasks of planning instruction, giving feedback and monitoring students’ progress. The third is the official assessment, which is the periodic formal functions of assessment for grouping, grading and reporting.
When assessing product, Isaacson (1996) identifies five aspects of students’ writing that a balanced assessment should consider. First, fluency which involves the ability to translate ones’ thoughts into written expression by using a variety of sentence structures and appropriate vocabulary. Second, content which relates to the ability to organize ideas and write coherently. It is also the ability to write creatively through logical argument. Third, conventions which concern the ability to use the standard conventions of written English language such as correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar and readable handwriting. Forth, vocabulary which involves the ability to express precise meaning in a variety of writing context. This is achieved by use of wide range of use of appropriate vocabulary relevant to the idea expressed in writing. Fifth, syntax which concerns the ability to use a variety of sentence patterns and constructions.
From this literature review, it is evident that assessment of students’ written work provides more instructional information to both teachers and students. It is also shown that assessment should be holistic, that is, taking into account a variety of aspects considered vital for effective written expression such as purpose, process and product. Therefore, it was of enormous educational interest to establish the assessment methods used by teachers in assessing students’ written essays and their influence on effective learning of L2 writing skills.
2.6.3 Availability of Teaching and Learning Skills
Instructional resources are defined to support the instruction of a subject or course including but not limited to text books, library books, newspapers, magazines, printed materials, charts,recordings,videos,DVDs,pictures,exhibits,slides,transparencies,online resources speakers and other personnel resources and all technology-based resources (McBrien and Brandit,1997).Instructional materials are an important aspect of the teaching process. Teachers of English like those of other subjects have a large number of these instructional materials that they can use. Its however the prerogative of the teacher of English to make these materials an integral part of their instructional practices (Minae, 2004)
2.8 Research in essay writing
A number of various studies in ESL writing have been carried out by different researchers. Research into the teaching of writing skills has revealed that there are certain teaching approaches that enhance students’ proficiency in L2 writing (Sengupta, 2000 and Cresswell, 2000). Sengupta (2000) working with secondary school students, investigated the effects of giving instructions in revision strategies to writers of English as a second language. He found that explicit teaching of these strategies had a measurable effect on the quality of the students’ final product. Cresswell (2000) reported on the effects of students learning to self- monitor their writing and to pay attention to the organization of their writing. The findings indicated improvement in the students’ ability to pay attention to the content and organization of their writing. Cornnor and Farmer (1990) found that teaching L2 writing skills using topic structure analysis as a revision strategy had a positive effect on the final written texts.
Eyinda and Shariff (2010) carried out a study on the teaching of writing in an ESL class in Kenyan secondary schools, the findings of the study indicated that although teachers use a variety of teaching and learning activities in their writing lessons, most of the activities used give teachers overwhelming control of the class proceedings. Teachers also face challenges such as lack of knowledge, skills and interest to teach writing, inadequate teaching and learning resources, large classes and lack of learners’ interest in writing. From the findings of the study, it was recommended that teachers need to explore the use of learners centered activities such as peer editing, role play and group discussion to enhance learners writing skills. Curriculum developers also need to produce more curriculum support materials for teaching writing and sensitize teachers the best way to implement the integrated English syllabus.
Assessment of students’ level of proficiency in writing has been the subject of a considerable amount of recent research. Kroll (1998) observes that assessment should reflect not only the stages of general linguistic proficiency of the student, but also the ability to use the forms appropriately within the social and professional conventions of writing in the L2 language. Hamp-lyons (1995) suggests that holistic assessment of students’ writing abilities provide more diagnostic information to both students and teachers. Research has also been carried out on the effects of feedback on student writing. Ferris (1997) found that changes made by students in responses to the teacher comments did have a positive effect on the overall quality the students’ written essays. Berg (1999) trained students on how to give effective peer response in writing. She found that this training had a positive effect on the students’ revision types and on the quality of their written texts. Similarly Simiyu and Oluga (2010) carried out a research on improving composition writing through peer editing among secondary schools in western Kenya. The findings showed that if students in an ESL context are enabled, they can identify errors in each others’ compositions and attempt corrections, resulting in improved compositions. The study also revealed that there are challenges to surmount in an effort to develop effective peer editors. Key among them are the perceptions of the students about peer editing, time as a factor in the editing process and changing students’ perceptions about re-drafting edited compositions. A study carried out by Nthiga (2010) on the pedagogic process of writing in ESL in Kenyan secondary schools, the findings showed that error feedback plus teacher written comments was the most commonly used feedback provision method, the feedback was largely in form of directives generally highlighting weaknesses in the learners’ compositions and that the feedback laid more emphasis on aspects of grammar and spelling compared to other features such as content and coherence. The findings also revealed that workload, teachers’ attitudes, examination culture and lack of training knowledge to learner writing as factors that influenced teachers’ feedback practices. The study recommended that there is need for adoption of multiple drafting for better provision of feedback and preparation of teachers with regard to feedback provision.
According to Darus and Subramanian (2009), errors in written L2 essays have long become the subject of interest among teachers, linguists and researchers. Darus and Subramanian investigated the types of errors made by 72 form four Malay students in their L2 written work. The results of the study showed that the errors committed were basically grammatical. The students also had a relatively weak vocabulary and they committed errors in applying sentence structure rules in English language. They concluded that the students had problems in acquiring grammatical rules in English language. Mukulu et. al (2006) investigated common problems students face in creative composition writing in KCSE English examination. The findings from the study indicated that students lacked imagination, wrote essays that were irrelevant and failed to sustain the interest of the reader. Candidates also made frequent construction errors, demonstrated poor spelling and punctuation.
Researchers have also been pre-occupied in finding reasonable explanation for occurrence of errors in L2 writing. Ouma (2005) investigated the relationship between achievement motivation and performance in English composition writing among secondary school students in Kenya. The findings from the study indicated that appropriate motivation techniques such as frequent provision of feedback, regular assessment, giving encouraging remarks, reading the piece of writing to the rest of the class and displaying students’ essays on the notice board enhances performance among students. The results further showed that lack of motivation was a major contributing factor to low performance in English composition. In declining low achievement in essay writing, the KNEC for the year (2010) noted that most students failed to read and understand the set texts and understand literary concepts hence they wrote irrelevant essays and gave dismal accounts.
Another quite important outcome from recent research has shown that students’ L2 contributes to the presence of errors in their written essays. Manian (2010) investigated the influence of L1 grammar on L2 writing of Tamil secondary school students from Malalysia. The findings indicated that students constructed sentences with errors because of the differences of grammatical rules between their Malay (L1) and English. He further observed that students need to understand the differences between the two languages and that teachers need to make the students aware of the differences in the structure of these languages and highlight certain rules in L1 that are not appropriate to be used while writing in L2 and hence, decrease the occurrence of errors. Another study by Lo and Hyland (2007) in a new ESL programme that focused on the learners’ own social cultural context as sources of essay topics to enhance Hong Kong primary students’ motivation and engagement in writing. It was found that the students used more expressions in the essays which were direct and inappropriate translations from Chinese to English language. It was also noted that the students made direct translations of a phrase or sentence from Chinese to English language while writing. Whereas various studies have been carried out, little has been done on problems students face in learning essay writing skills at secondary school level. Therefore, the study sought to investigate challenges students face in learning L2 writing skills at secondary school le A study by Lo and Hyland (2007) on ESL writing programme that focused on the learners’ own social-cultural contexts as essay topics to enhance Hong Kong primary students’ motivation and engagement in writing. It was found that the students used more expressions in their essays which were direct and inappropriate translations from Chinese to English. Another similar study carried out by Maniam (2010) on the influence of L1 grammar on the English language (L2) writing among secondary school students from Malaysia. It was found that the students constructed sentences with errors because of the differences of grammatical rules of their L1 (Malay) and English (L2). This is because students tended to refer to their L1 whenever they faced difficulties in L2 writing.
A study carried out by Were (1996) on first language influence on Kiswahili composition writing among Bukusu students from Kandunyi division, Bungoma district, the results of the study revealed that, in grammar, spelling and vocabulary, there was a tendency to over generalize, that is to directly transfer rules from one’s first language to written Kiswahili composition. Another study by Jeptarus (2010) investigated lexico-semantic errors of standard seven pupils in Keiyo district, after analyzing the learners’ written compositions two broad errors were established: Interlingual and Intralingual. Interlingual errors which comprised 35.74% of the total number of errors made included: phonologically induced, language switch, paraphrase, calques and epenthesis. The Intralingual errors comprised 64.27%. These errors included: semantic contiguity, coinage, collocation and ignorance. It was concluded that these errors were due to learners’ first language influence on L2 writing.

2.10 Summary of Literature Review
From the literature review, it is evident that writing is an important skill that students require for their academic advancement. However, it has been noted that learning to master writing skills is a problem most students face at all levels of the education system. Research in L2 essay writing has revealed various methodologies for effective teaching of writing skills, whereby process oriented approaches to teaching writing skills have been revealed to be more successful than product oriented approaches. In addition, researchers have also established various errors students make on their L2 written compositions and they have also identified diversified sources of the errors such as lack of motivation, negative attitudes toward L2 writing, inadequate teaching of L2 writing skills among others. It has also been established that learners’ learning strategies influence the learning of L2 writing skills. Researchers in L2 writing have also made various considerations on the role of feedback on students’ written essays, assessment practices in essay writing and availability and use of teaching and learning resources as means of improving students’ writing skills. Despite the various studies on L2 essay writing, minimal studies have been done on challenges students face in learning L2 writing skills. In Kenya, the KNEC end year reports on candidates’ performance in English at KCSE level have over the years consistently shown that students face various challenges in essay writing. The study, therefore, was an attempt to gain deeper insights into challenges students face in learning L2 essay writing skills and make recommendations on how to improve the learning of essay writing skills among students.

CHAPTER THREE
REASERCH METHODOLOGY
3.0 Introduction
This chapter deals with the procedures and methods that were used to collect and analyze data. It focuses on research design, location of study, target population, sampling techniques and sample size, research instruments, pilot study, validity and reliability, data collection procedures, data analysis and finally logistical and ethical considerations.

3.1 Research design
This study adopted a descriptive survey design. Descriptive survey design was found appropriate because it enables the researcher to collect information about people’s opinions on various issues that affect them (Orodho, 2004). This research design enabled the researcher to obtain information from the respondents on various challenges students face in learning L2 essay writing skills in secondary schools. Descriptive survey design is also used to obtain information from a representative selection of a population which the investigator presents the findings as being a representation of the population as a whole (Bell, 1993). In this study, information was obtained from selected students and teachers from the sampled secondary schools in Manga district and the findings were generalized to all secondary school students in the whole District.

3.2 Location of the study
This study was carried out in Manga District, Nyamira County, Kenya. The District is located in the rural area and it is the region with the second lowest number of secondary schools in Nyamira County. It borders Nyamira to the North, Marani to the West, Masaba North to the East and Kisii Central to the South. Manga District was considered suitable for the study because of its low performance in English language at KCSE level (Manga District Education Office, 2011) Little has also been done to establish challenges students face in learning essay writing skills in secondary schools in Manga District. Further, it was chosen because it was within reach by the researcher which made it easier to develop immediate rapport with respondents and easily locate the schools, hence making data collection less cumbersome. Singleton (1993) states that an ideal setting for any study is one that is related to the researcher’s interest, easily accessible and that which allows the development of immediate rapport with the informants.

3.3 Target population
The target population were students and English language teachers in the public secondary schools in Manga District. There are 26 public secondary schools comprising of 23 mixed, 2 boys’ and 1 girls’ school with a total population of about 7240 students. The accessible population were 1810 form three students and 52 English language teachers who were drawn from the three categories of public secondary schools in Manga District as the respondents for the study. Form three students were considered appropriate for this study because they had more exposure to essay writing at secondary school level unlike their form ones and twos counterparts. Form four students were not selected although they equally had more exposure to essay writting because they were preparing for their National examinations.

3.4 Sampling techniques and sample size
This section deals with procedures which were used to sample schools and respondents for the study.

3.4.1 Schools’ sample
Stratified random sampling technique was used to select schools to be included in the study public secondary schools in the District. Schools were stratified into three main categories: boys’, girls’ and mixed. Stratification ensures that certain sub-groups in the population are represented in the sample in proportion to their numbers in the population itself (Kombo and Tromp, 2006). After the stratification of schools, random sampling was used to select one boys’ school and 8 mixed schools. The only girls’ school in the District was automatically included in the study. This formed the sample of 10 schools out of 26 public secondary schools. This constituted 38.5% of the schools’ sample. According to Mugenda and Mugenda (2003), a suitable sample size should at least be 10% of the total population.

3.4.2 Students’ sample
Stratified random sampling technique was used to select 180 students out of 1810 form three students in public secondary schools in the District. This constituted10% of the target population. Students from each sampled school were classified into three categories: above average, average and below average. This classification was based on students’ performance in essay writing for first term. This was done in order to ensure a wide variance with respect to difficulties students face in essay writing. Proportional probability allocation was used to determine the number of students in each stratum.
3.4.3 Teachers’ sample
Convenient sampling technique was employed to select 10 teachers out of 52 English language teachers in the District. This represented 19.2% of the target population. This method was considered appropriate because it enables the researcher to collect information more readily from subjects that are easily and conveniently available and also accessible (Mugenda and Mugenda, 2003). The number of sampled schools, teachers and students is shown in table 3.1 below.
Table 3.1 Sampling grid | Total | Sample(n) | Percent (%) | Schools | 26 | 10 | 38.5% | Teachers | 52 | 10 | 19.2% | Students | 1810 | 180 | 10% | Total | 1888 | 200 | |

3.5 Research instruments
The research instruments were interview schedules for teachers, questionnaires and essay writing test for students.
3.5.1 Teachers’ Interview Schedule (TIS)
An interview schedule was used to collect information from teachers. An interview schedule was considered appropriate because it helps the interviewer to cover all the dimensions of an investigation through probing of the respondents and hence it provides in depth information about particular cases of interest to the researcher (Kombo and Tromp, 2006). It was also used because many respondents are more willing to communicate orally than in writing and thus provide data more readily in an interview (Best and Khan, 1993). An interview schedule was used to gather data on background information of teachers, teaching methods, challenges students face in learning essay writing skills and suggestions on how to improve students’ writing abilities.
3.5.2 Students’ questionnaire (SQ)
A questionnaire containing both open and closed ended questions was used to collect data from students. A questionnaire was preferred because it enables the researcher to preserve respondents’ anonymity hence making it possible to elicit their responses. It also saves time and allows greater uniformity in the way questions are asked and thus greater compatibility in the responses (Kombo and Tromp, 2006). Similarly, Gay (1992) maintains that a questionnaire gives respondents freedom to express their views or opinions and also to make suggestions. A questionnaire collected data on background information of students, challenges faced in learning essay writing skills, strategies used in learning essay writing skills and suggestions on how to improve the learning of essay writing skills.
3.5.3 Essay Writing Test (EWT)
Essay writing test was used to establish problems students face in essay writing. The essay writing test consisted of one topic selected from the compulsory set text for essay writing: Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga. Essay analysis schedule (EAS) adapted from KNEC (2009) was used to analyze students’ written essays. The schedule contained four levels of communicative ability assessed in essay writing, ranging from introduction, content, language use and conclusion.
3.6 Pilot Study
The pilot study was carried out in two public mixed secondary schools randomly selected from the District. From the two schools a total of 2 teachers were conveniently sampled and stratified random sampling was used to select 28 students. Therefore, giving a total of 30 subjects, which is the minimal number of subjects required for conducting statistical analysis as recommended by Mugenda and Mugenda (2003). The purpose of the pilot study was to test the research instruments: questionnaire, essay writing test and interview schedule so as to validate and ascertain their reliability. Orodho (2004) observes that piloting helps to detect deficiencies in the research instruments such as insufficient space and ambiguous questions. It also helps to reveal if the anticipated analytical techniques are appropriate. The schools and respondents used in the pilot study did not form part of the sample for the main study.

3.6.2 Reliability Reliability is a measure of the degree to which a research instrument yields consistent results or data after repeated trials (Mugenda and Mugenda, 2003). The piloted interview schedule, questionnaire and essay writing test were administered to the same teachers and students of the selected secondary schools after a period of one week. The responses were scored manually. A comparison between two responses obtained during the two different times was made. A pearson product moment formula for the test-retest method was used to compute the correlation coefficient in order to establish the extent to which the contents of the instruments were consistent in eliciting the same responses the two times the instruments were administered. A correlation coefficient of about 0.78 was obtained and considered quite adequate for the study. According to Orodho (2004) a correlation coefficient of about 0.8 is considered high enough to judge the reliability of the instrument for the study.
3.6.1 Validity
Validity establishes whether the research instrument measures what it is supposed to measure (Kothari, 2004). Once developed, the questionnaire, interview schedule and essay writing test were piloted so as to establish their validity. According to Orodho (2004) content validity of an instrument is improved through expert judgment. Therefore, the researcher established content validity by seeking expert judgement from his supervisors. Thus, information obtained from the pilot study and input of researcher’s supervisors was considered as a basis for modifying the research instruments in order to ascertain their validity.

3.7 Data collection procedure
The researcher first sought for a research permit from the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) to carry out research. Thereafter, the researcher sought permission from the Manga District Education Office to carry out research in the District. Upon being granted permission, the researcher visited the selected schools with prior arrangements with the schools’ administrators on when the data could be collected. The researcher explained to the respondents the purpose for the research emphasizing that the information they gave would be used for research purpose only and treated confidentially as their identity would not be revealed. The questionnaires were then administered the respondents by the researcher with the help of the teacher from the school. Respondents were given 40 minutes to fill the questionnaires. The completed questionnaires were collected on the spot. Thereafter, the researcher administered an interview to the selected teachers. During the interview, the researcher clarified and probed for more information where necessary and assured the respondents that the data gathered would be used for the purpose of the study and therefore, need to respond honestly as possible. The researcher then noted down the responses given. The students were then given one week to write the essay after which the written essays were corrected.

3.8 Data analysis
Data were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The statistical package for social science (SPSS) was used to analyze quantitative data and present it descriptively using frequencies, percentages, tables and graphs. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic method by grouping the responses provided by respondents into various themes according to the objectives of the study. Thereafter, conclusions and recommendations made.

3.9 Logistical and Ethical Considerations
The researcher first obtained an introduction letter from the Dean Graduate School, Kenyatta University and then proceeded for a research permit from the National Council of Science and Technology. Thereafter, the researcher sought permission from Manga District Education Office to carry out research in the District. The researcher then proceeded to develop rapport with school administrations, teachers and students of the selected schools and inform them of the intended study. Convenient days were agreed upon during which data would be collected. During the data collection exercise, the researcher assured the respondents that the information they gave would be treated with utmost confidentiality and used only for the purpose of this study. The researcher also thanked the respondents after every exercise.

CHAPTER FOUR
DATA ANALYSIS, RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.0 Introduction
This chapter interprets and explains with the presentation, an analysis of data gathered from the study of challenges students face in learning English as a second language essay writing skills in secondary schools in Manga District, Nyamira County, Kenya. The analysis was based on data gathered from the respondents, interviews and discussions of major investigations under pertinent research questions.

4.1 Background Information
In a bid to establish the background information of the respondents particularly the students, the researcher asked them to state the type of school, their gender and class they were in.
4.1.1 Type of School
The students were asked to state the type of school they were in. The schools studied were of three types. The responses were as given in Table 4.1:
Table 4.1: Type of School Type of School | Frequency | Percent | | Boys’ schools | 1 | 10 | | Girls’ schools | 1 | 10 | | Mixed schools | 8 | 80 | | Total | 10 | 100 |

4.1.2 Gender of the Respondents
The study sought the gender of the respondents as an important variable. The findings are as presented in figure 4.1:

Figure 4.1: Gender of Respondents

4.1.3 Experience as Teacher of English Language
The study further sought the experience of the teachers in teaching English Language. The findings are as presented in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2: Experience as Teacher of English Language Teaching Experience in years | Teachers | | F | % | 1-5 | 2 | 20 | 6- 10 | 4 | 40 | 11- 15 | 3 | 30 | 16 and above | 1 | 10 | Total | 10 | 100 |

Table 4.3 reveals that 40.0 percent (68) of the teachers and 13.0 percent (03) of the head teachers had a working experience of 1-5 years while another 40.0 percent (68) of the teachers and 26.1 percent (06) of the head teachers had worked for 6-10 years. It is also revealed that 11.2 percent (19) of the teachers and 39.2 percent (09) of the head teachers had worked for 11- 15 years. Finally, table 4.3 reveals that 8.8 percent (15) of the teachers and 21.7 percent (05) of the head teachers had served for 16 and above years. This implies that most of the respondents had work experience of more than one year and therefore were in position to give information on institutional factors influencing head teachers’ performance of instructional supervision in public primary schools.

4.1.4 Professional Qualification of Teachers
In addition the study sought the professional qualification of the respondents. The information obtained is as presented in figure 4.2:
Figure 4.2: Professional Qualification of Teachers

4.1.5 Total Number of Students in English Classes
The study further sought the total number of students. The findings are as presented in Table 4.3: Table 4.3: Total Number of Students in English Classes Number of students | | | F | % | Below 100 | 1 | 10 | 101- 160 | 6 | 60 | 161 and above | 3 | 30 | Total | 10 | 100 |

4.1.6 Total Number of Lessons of English Taught by Teachers
The study further sought the total number of lessons of English taught by teachers in their classes. The findings are as presented in figure 4.3:

Figure 4.3: Total Number of Lessons of English Taught by Teachers

4.2 Methods used in teaching Essay Writing Skills
The first objective of the study was to determine methods teachers use in teaching essay writing skills. The findings are presented in Table 4.4.

Table 4.4: Methods used in teaching Essay Writing Skills Method | Frequently | Sometimes | Rarely | Never | | f | % | F | % | F | % | F | % | Lecture | 7 | 70 | 3 | 30 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Questioning | 10 | 100 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Group Discussion | 1 | 10 | 3 | 30 | 5 | 50 | 1 | 10 | Debating | 0 | 0 | 2 | 20 | 6 | 60 | 2 | 20 | Role play | 0 | 0 | 1 | 10 | 5 | 50 | 4 | 40 | Oral presentation | 2 | 20 | 3 | 30 | 4 | 40 | 1 | 10 | Brainstorming | 1 | 10 | 2 | 20 | 3 | 40 | 4 | 40 | Supervised Assignment | 2 | 20 | 3 | 30 | 5 | 50 | 0 | 0 | Structured Peer teaching | 0 | 0 | 1 | 10 | 3 | 30 | 6 | 60 | Demonstration | 2 | 20 | 4 | 40 | 4 | 40 | 0 | 0 | Cooperative Teaching | 2 | 20 | 3 | 30 | 2 | 20 | 3 | 30 |

Information from table 4.4 reveals that 7 (70%) of the teachers indicated that they frequently use lecture method as compared to 3 (30%) who sometimes use the method. This implies that lecture method is commonly used in the teaching of essay writing skills. This is a teacher- centred method that is not suitable in the teaching of essay writing skills (Badger and White, 2000). All teachers (100%) indicated that they use questioning as a method of teaching essay writing skills. However, this method is a teacher centred and therefore does not effectively enhance learning of essay writing skills. Concerning the use of group discussion, 1 (10%) of the teachers indicated they frequently use the method in teaching essay writing skills, 3 (30%) sometimes use it, 5 (50%) rarely use the method whereas 1 (10%) never use the method at all. This implies that 90% of the teachers do not use group discussion frequently and yet it is one of the suitable methods of teaching writing skills. In addition, group discussion encourages cooperative learning among students which enable them to learn essay writing skills effectively (Badger and White, 2000).

4.3 Challenges Students Face in Learning Essay Writing Skills
The second objective of the study was to investigate challenges that students face in learning essay writing skills. The findings are presented in Table 4.5.
Table 4.5: Challenges Students Face in Learning Essay Writing Skills Challenges | Frequency (f) | Percentage (%) | Inadequate learning resources. | 101 | 56.1 | Mother tongue influence. | 115 | 63.9 | Lack of adequate revision of the learnt content. | 79 | 43.8 | Use of grammar (e.g. tenses) | 129 | 71.7 | Lack of adequate practice in essay writing. | 93 | 51.7 | Inadequate interpretation of set questions during exams. | 85 | 47.2 | Lack of interest towards learning essay writing skills. | 59 | 32.7 | Organization of ideas in essay writing (Content) | 133 | 73.9 | Difficulties in understanding some essay writing concepts. | 105 | 58.3 | Attention to individual learner differences | 103 | 57.2 | Inadequate vocabulary in L2 | 125 | 69.4 |

Information from Table 4.5 indicates that the majority 133 (73.9%) of the students stated that organization of ideas in essay writing (content) is the greatest challenge they face in learning of essay writing skills followed by use of grammar 129 (71.7%), inadequate vocabulary in L2 125 (69.4%) while lack of interest towards learning essay writing skills posed the least challenge 59 (32.7 %) in essay writing.

Concerning the levels of essay writing the students find most challenging, the teachers’ responses were as in table 4.6:
Table 4.8: Levels of Essay Writing Students Find Most Challenging Level of Essay Writing | Frequency (f) | Percentage (%) | Introduction | 4 | 40 | Content | 8 | 80 | Grammar (Language use) | 7 | 70 | Conclusion | 5 | 50 |

Table 4.6 shows that the majority 8 (80%) of the teachers indicated that content which involves organization of ideas and adequate support details is the most challenging level in essay writing followed by language use 7 (70%) which involves use of grammar, vocabulary and conventions of writing whereas introduction level posed the least challenge to students 4 (40%). These findings concur with the students responses in table 4.5.
The scores of the essay writing test from the students were as in table 4.7:

Table 4.7: Students’ scores in Essay Writing Level | Maximum Score | Student Average score | No. of Students | Percentage (%) | Introduction | 2 | 1.3 | 122 | 67.8 | Content | 12 | 5.2 | 67 | 37.2 | Language use | 4 | 2.4 | 85 | 47.2 | Conclusion | 2 | 1.1 | 105 | 58.3 |

The findings from Table 4.7 indicate that the minority 67 (37.2%) of the students scored an average score of 5.2 out of 12 in content in essay writing. This implies that the majority of the students scored below 5.2 concurring with the students and teachers responses that content poses a great challenge in essay writing. This could be due to the fact students fail to read the set texts for essay writing and therefore end up writing irrelevant information and inadequate illustrations. This concurs with the KNEC report (2010).

4.4 Strategies Employed by Students in Learning Essay Writing Skills.
The third objective of the study was to establish strategies students employ in learning essay writing skills. The findings are presented in Table 4.8.
Table 4.10: Strategies Employed by Students in Learning Essay Writing Skills Strategy | | Taking notes during the lesson | f | % | | | 89 | | | Ask teachers for clarification of concepts not understood | 85 | | | Working with other students to understand or solve a problem on essay writing. | 67 | 37.2 | | Making corrections on marked essays. | 71 | 39.4 | | Revising work learnt in class. | 47 | | | Reading widely other materials in English e.g. Newspapers, storybooks etc. | 25 | | | Applying learnt content in writing own essays apart from those given by teacher | 23 | | | Proof reading written essays | 68 | | | Planning or organizing ideas before writing | 89 | | |

In addition, the responses of teachers on measures they usually put in place in order to help students improve on their learning of essay writing skills were as in table 4.11:
Table 4.10: Measures by Teachers to Help Students Improve in Learning Essay Writing Skills Measures | Frequency (f) | Percentage (%) | Encouraging group work | 10 | 100.0 | Issuing handout | 04 | 40.0 | Encouraging reading widely in English | 08 | 80.0 | Organizing for resource persons | 03 | 30.0 | Displaying well written essays on class notice boards | 02 | 20.0 | Organizing of internal symposiums | 03 | 30.0 | Rewarding best essays | 01 | 10.0 | Remedial teaching | 04 | 40.0 | Use of audio-visual aids | 03 | 30.0 | Joint exams with other schools | 02 | 20.0 | Essay writing competitions | 02 | 20.0 | Borrowing reference resources from other schools | 03 | 30.0 | Encourage students to make corrections on their written essays | 06 | 60.0 |
N=10

4.5 Suggestions to Improve the Learning of Essay Writing Skills among Students
The final objective of the study was to make suggestions on how to improve the learning of essay writing skills among students. The responses from the respondents were centred around three thematic areas: the students, teachers and instructional resources.
Concerning students, they suggested…

4.5.1 Organization
Select an appropriate number of supporting points, depending both on your argument and your allotted writing time, and present them in a clear order, so the essay proceeds smoothly and logically from one point to the next. Be sure to put your main supporting points into separate paragraphs, so there is a clear beginning, middle and end as opposed to a long, uninterrupted block of text.

4.5.2 Development
Generally, each of your body paragraphs should contain a topic sentence which directly supports your thesis statement and also contains a generalization in need of support. In order to provide that support, ask yourself, "How do I know that this is true?" Your answer will suggest how to develop the paragraph.

4.5.3 Evidence
In order to construct a well supported and convincing argument, students will need to flesh out the ideas presented in the topic sentences. They should avoid a series of skimpy paragraphs which generally lack development. They should provide concrete and specific detail for each supporting point in the form of examples, anecdotes, illustrations, facts, personal knowledge, personal experiences, etc.

4.5.4 Grammar-Punctuation-Spelling
In a timed writing situation, you will not have a lot of time to spend worrying over the spelling of a word or the placement of a comma. Do not, for example, give writer's block and waste precious time by agonizing over the spelling. However, students also don't want to turn in a piece of writing that contains excessive grammatical, punctuation, and/or spelling errors. Therefore, they should set time aside at the end to proofread their essay.

4.5.5 Time Management
Since taking a timed writing exam puts you in the situation of having a limited amount of time to create a focused, organized, well supported essay, you better have a clear plan of how you will use your allotted time before beginning the exam.

In conclusion learners’ perceptions towards the teaching and learning of English should be taken and reviewed seriously as it is a two-way process involving teachers and learners. Meanwhile, teachers should take the initiative to ensure their teaching plans are effective while students’ learning becomes meaningful through a myriad and mixture of teaching methods to cater to a majority of the students’ learning styles and preferences. An empathic teacher can motivate reluctant students to explore their maximum potential through consistent encouragement and self assurance. Besides, average and low proficiency students need to be proactive and consistently strive to improve their English language proficiency until they are able to achieve their maximum ability. In the end, the results will be an equal achievement and success for both educators and learners.

Essay writing teachers should be trained to use different classroom interaction techniques and teaching methods such as pair work and group work, peer-review, student-teacher conferences and any other related techniques. It is also suggested that teachers should be acquainted with using technology in the classroom to help students with different learning styles learn efficiently and rapidly. It is suggested that essay writing lecturers should be engaged in conducting research in general and action research in particular where they can find students’ weakness areas and try to improve.

CHAPTER FIVE
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.0 Introduction
This study sought to find out challenges students face in learning English as a second language essay writing skills in secondary schools in Manga District, Nyamira County, Kenya. Objectives to guide the study were developed. These were: to determine methods teachers use in teaching essay writing skills; to establish strategies students employ in learning essay writing skills; investigate challenges that students face in learning essay writing skills and make recommendations on how to improve the learning of essay writing skills.
5.1 Summary
In chapter one of the Project, the background information was well outlined. The statement of the problem was well stated as well as the problem under investigations. The scope of the study was well stated. Literature review was presented in chapter two. Chapter three of the project presents the methodology used in this study. The study was conducted using descriptive survey research design. Descriptive survey research design was the most appropriate because it described recorded and analyzed the situation. Research permit was received afterwards from the National Council of Science and Technology. The researcher then administered the instrument to all the respondents. The research findings were entered, coded and processed by an experienced data analyst. 3.6.1 Validity
Validity establishes whether the research instrument measures what it is supposed to measure (Kothari, 2004). Once developed, the questionnaire, interview schedule and essay writing test were piloted so as to establish their validity. According to Orodho (2004). Content validity of an instrument is improved through expert judgment. Therefore, the researcher established content validity by seeking expert judgement from his supervisors. Thus, information obtained from the pilot study and input of researcher’s supervisors were considered as a basis for modifying the research instruments in order to ascertain their validity.

5.1.1 Methods used in teaching Essay Writing Skills
In the analysis of the teachers’ responses, the study shows that the female students are facing more problems in spellings than the male students. The difference in male and female students in case of grammar and punctuation problems indicate that female face more problems than male students of secondary school level. This study therefore revealed that there was dominance of textbooks, dictionaries, chalkboards and books in the teaching of essay writing in during learning of English Language in secondary schools. The students also wrote their assignments after every lesson.

5.1.2 Strategies Employed in Learning Essay Writing Skills
The strategies commonly used in learning included doing essay writing were assignments, reading extensively other written materials in English, taking notes during class lessons and cooperating with other students in group work. The students are required to focus on texts and attempt various exercises that enable them to draw attention to relevant features of a text, and then rewrite them in their own writing. Writing enables the students to make clear decisions about the direction of their writing by certain procedures such as discussion, drafting, feedback, and informed choices. Remedial measure includes a situation where slow-learners are given extra coaching and counselling. If a student errs in a class he/she should not be scolded or punished for his/her misbehaviour in the class itself. Instead, call such students individually after class hours are over and provide valuable advices and counsel them the significance of college life. It was noted that teaching learning is not a one-way process, it is a multi-way process. As soon as the teaching is over, students should raise their doubts, clarification, etc. By doing so, students’ communication skills in English will grow.

5.1.3 Challenges in Learning Essay Writing Skills
There were three major challenges to writing an essay. The three challenges given were writer’s block, bad sentence structure, and incorrect grammar. The first challenge was writer’s block, which the students informed this study that can be difficult to deal with when writing an essay. Becoming very angry and frustrated, which if not dealt with can make the problem worse while writing. The second challenge is that bad sentence structure can make for poor reading. Fragmented sentences, run-ons, and improper punctuation sets a poor foundation for the reader to understand what has been written. The third challenge is using incorrect grammar while writing an essay. Using incorrect grammar makes for a poor impression, some may take it that it is sloppy work and the person may be unreliable. Using poor grammar can cause what has been written to lose creditability. Using proper grammar can go a long way not only for your writing but for you as well. The teachers informed this study that in schools, students are being taught that English is an international language. To learn this language requires constant practice and patience. The kind of feeling that prevails among students is that it is not possible to achieve fluency or mastery over English language leave alone essay writing skills. This kind of tendency prevents students from learning and developing essay writing skills.

5.1.4 Recommendations to Improve the Learning of Essay Writing Skills
Learners’ perceptions towards the teaching and learning of English should be taken and reviewed seriously as it is a two-way process involving teachers and learners. Meanwhile, teachers should take the initiative to ensure their teaching plans are effective while students’ learning becomes meaningful through a myriad and mixture of teaching methods to cater to a majority of the students’ learning styles and preferences. An empathic teacher can motivate reluctant students to explore their maximum potential through consistent encouragement and self assurance. Besides, average and low proficiency students need to be proactive and consistently strive to improve their English language proficiency until they are able to achieve their maximum ability. In the end, the results will be an equal achievement and success for both educators and learners. Essay writing teachers should be trained to use different classroom interaction techniques and teaching methods such as pair work and group work, peer-review, student-teacher conferences and any other related techniques. It is also suggested that teachers should be acquainted with using technology in the classroom to help students with different learning styles learn efficiently and rapidly.

5.1.4 Challenges
Students learn English language at school level for the purpose of passing only in the tests and in the examinations and not to face any real life situations. Teaching of English Language is bedevilled with many problems such as inadequate period of teaching, method of teaching and lack of adequate and useful resources.

5.2 Implication of the Study
This study has contributed significantly to knowledge in that from the perspective of English language the current study has the potential to improve English language teacher education in a number of ways: It provides an understanding of the problems faced by student teachers in the cohesion and coherence of their written essays. This, in turn, is significant for teacher educators since it aims to provide implications for developing their essay writing syllabus, methods of teaching, and assessment. It also sheds light on the importance of students’ needs as this will enable teacher educators to know how to satisfy these needs and conduct successful and memorable learning. It also highlights the significant development in the academic achievement of students in other courses due to their ability to produce coherent essays. This will help better prepare highly qualified students of English who could write coherently. At the level of educational research, the current study makes a significant contribution summarized in two respects: first it serves as an example for further studies in education in terms of using the interpretive research framework. This approach has been totally neglected in Kenya, no previous study having used an exploratory approach to investigate the problems faced by Kenyan student of English. It also serves as an example of the triangulation of research methods such as questionnaires, and semi-structured in-depth interviews. In terms of curriculum planning and design, the study is potentially significant as it highlights the following: It helps curriculum designers take into consideration students’ needs and interests in designing their curriculum and opens curriculum planners and designers’ minds to different approaches to the teaching and assessment of essay writing in general and organizational skills in particular.

5.3 Conclusion
Writing is a literacy skill and a complex form of self expression. The data analysis favored the purpose of the study that students were facing a lot of difficulties in writing essay in English language. The most serious problems were that of vocabulary deficiency, L1 interference and confusion in grammatical rules. The students feel difficulties in writing when they face difficulties in reading. First thing first a student must do for effective essay writing is to explore the question. The student must know the areas that he/she wish to touch in the essay. For brilliant essay writing, a writer should have clear insight of how he will go about the essay. To become a good at essay writing the student will need to make reading and thinking both very strong. It is always suggested that essays writing should not be done without proper planning. People who try to do unplanned essay writing normally fall in an unseen trap that has no way out, round or through. The students should make sure that they have taken necessary notes and made a draft before beginning final essay writing. Random and eleventh hour essay writing always leaves them with limited options. Even during the initial draft keep proofreading. It is the most important aspect of essays writing to check and recheck the draft at every stage. Once they have written the first draft essay, read it thoroughly. There is always a room for improvement in every draft written. Finally, this lack of motivation can have a strong negative effect on students’ development in essay writing.

5.4 Recommendation
Based on the study findings the following recommendations were made: * The difficulties in essay writing in English are also interrelated with each other. Teachers should adopt eclectic approach that is ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources in teaching essay writing and innovative methods of teaching vocabulary and should train students in appropriate word selection. * Teachers should adopt eclectic approach to inculcate knowledge of both genre and process of writing. Students should be taught to handle the first language interference especially how to avoid the mistakes created due to L1 syntax. * They should be trained to remember the irregular spellings and rules of making spellings. Grammar rule should be focused and applied linguistics be employed during teaching English. * Public secondary schools in Kenya should be provided with adequate and a variety of instructional media to teach essay writing. If teachers in public secondary schools in Kenya are to assume new roles and use new technology-supported instructional tools, they should become familiar with a variety of instructional delivery methods, rather than relying on textbooks, chalkboard and lecture method. * Teaching techniques adopted by Kenya essay writing secondary school teachers should be varied to help meet the needs of students with different abilities * Teaching and learning tasks should be graded and varied to help students make the most out of them, especially in large classes of different abilities and skills. The feedback practices employed by the essay writing teachers should combine both types of oral and written feedback, be promptly given to students, be critical and constructive in nature to challenge students and help them develop the different cohesion and coherence skills.
5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies
The following suggested studies are areas that need more exploration with the Kenyan context: i. This study leads to the need of an extended study in terms of geographical area, sample size and the factors causing difficulties in writing English. ii. The future study should also focus on difficulties in writing English faced at primary and the colleges level. iii. Analyzing students’ vocabulary learning strategies and its effect on the development of coherent and cohesive written essays. iv. Exploring teachers’ views about teaching the mechanics of writing in an essay writing course.

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APPENDIX A * TEACHERS’ INTERVIEW SCHEDULE (TIS) * This interview schedule is meant to solicit information on teaching and learning strategies, challenges students face in learning essay writing skills and suggestions on how to improve the learning of essay writing among students. The information you give will be treated with utmost confidentiality and will be used strictly for the purpose of this study.
1. Type of your school: a) Boys ( ) b) Girls ( ) c) Mixed ( )
2. Professional qualifications: a) Doctorate degree ( ) b) Masters degree ( ) c) Bachelor’s degree ( ) d) Diploma ( ) e) Untrained ( ) f) Others(Specify):…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
3. Experience as a teacher in years: a) 1-5 ( ) b) 6-10 ( ) c) 11-15 ( ) d) 16 -20 ( ) e) Above 20 ( )

4. What is the total number of students in your form three class? ....................................................
5. How many lessons do you teach per week? ......................................................................................
6. Which of the following teaching methods do you use in teaching essay writing skills? How often do you use them? Rate of use Method | Very often | Often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never | Lecture | | | | | | Question and answer | | | | | | Group discussion | | | | | | Debate | | | | | | Oral presentations | | | | | | Role play | | | | | | Resource persons | | | | | | Demonstration | | | | | | Individual assignment | | | | | | Others (Specify)……….. | | | | | | 7. Do your learners face challenges in learning essay writing skills? If yes, what are these difficulties?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
8. How would you rate your students’ achievement in essay writing? a) Above average ( ) b) Average ( ) c) Below average ( ) 9. Which level(s) of essay writing do your students find most challenging? Give reasons.
............................................................................................................................................................

10. Are there some strategies that your students employ in order to enhance their learning of essay writing skills? If yes, what are they?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………….
11. What problems do you encounter as a teacher of English Language in the teaching of essay writing skills?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
12. What strategies do you employ in order to overcome the challenges you face in teaching essay writing skills?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
13. In your opinion, what do you think should be done to enhance effective teaching and learning of essay writing skills?
………………………….…………………………………………………………………………
Thank you for your cooperation.

APPENDIX B
STUDENTS’ QUESTIONNAIRE (SQ)
This questionnaire is meant to find out information on teaching and learning strategies, challenges in learning essay writing skills and suggestions on how to improve the learning of essay writing skills among students. Please answer the following questions as best as you can, by placing a tick (√) on the statement that is applicable to you or filling in the spaces provided. The information you give will be treated with utmost confidentiality and will be used only for the purpose of this study.

1. Type of your school: a) (a) Girls ( ) b) (b) Boys ( ) c) (c) Mixed ( )
2. Your gender: a) Male ( ) b) Female ( )
3. Which class are you? a) Form one ( ) b) Form two ( ) c) Form three ( ) d) Form four

4. Do you have your own prescribed English set books for essay writing assignments? a) Yes ( ) b) No ( )
5. If your answer is yes, how often do you read and make notes from them? a) Very often ( ) b) Often ( ) c) Sometimes ( ) d) Rarely ( ) e) Never ( )
6. How often do you write essay assignments? a) After every essay writing lesson ( ) b) Once a week ( ) c) Twice a week ( ) d) Once a month ( ) e) Once a term ( ) f) Never ( ) g) Others (Specify) …………………………………………………………………………

7. Which of the following strategies do you employ in your learning of essay writing skills? Tick against your choices.
Note: please do not answer according to how you think you should learn, or what other students do. If a particular statement does not describe the strategy you use when learning essay writing skills, please do not tick against it. learning strategy | | Making notes from the set text | | Taking notes during the lesson | | Asking questions during and after the lesson | | Cooperating with other students (group work) | | Seeking for clarification of ideas and concepts not understood from the teacher | | Memorizing learnt essay writing skills | | Doing essay writing assignments | | Proofreading my written essays | | Using mnemonics (cues and clues to help remember content learnt) | | Reading extensively other written materials in English | | Revising my written notes after the lesson | | Others (specify) | |

8. Which of the following teaching and learning methods does your teacher use in class during essay writing lessons? How often does the teacher use them? Tick appropriately. Rate of use Method | Very often | Often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never | Lecture | | | | | | Question and answer | | | | | | Group discussion | | | | | | Debate | | | | | | Oral presentations | | | | | | Role play | | | | | | Resource persons | | | | | | Demonstration | | | | | | Individual assignment | | | | | | Others (Specify)……….. | | | | | |

9. What challenges do you face in the process of learning essay writing skills?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
10. Which level of essay writing do you find most challenging? a) Introduction ( ) b) Content ( ) c) Language use ( ) d) Conclusion ( ) e) Others (specify) ( )
Give reasons for your response …………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

11. What strategies do you employ to overcome the challenges you face in learning essay writing skills?...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
12. What do you do think should be done in order to enhance effective learning of essay writing skills?
............................................................................................................................................................

Thank you for your cooperation

APPENDIX C
ESSAY WRITING TEST (EWT)
Time: 40 Minutes
Instructions: Write an essay on the topic below.
Question: Drawing your illustrations from Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The River Between, write an essay on the challenges of reconciliation (20 marks).
Source: Adopted from KNEC (2009)

APPENDIX D
ESSAY ANALYSIS SCHEDULE (EAS)
Level Criteria Quality of Essay
Introduction
(2marks) Excellent: Substantive. Relevant and attention catching first sentence. Clear plan organization given, strong and adequate definitions provided. Good: Somewhat substantive. Topic relevant. Some plan of organization given. Definitions given almost adequate.
Fair: Topic somewhat irrelevant. Directions of essay not clearly given and contains little substance.
Poor: Non-substantive. Topic sentence irrelevant. No direction given. Not enough to evaluate.

Content (12 marks) Excellent: Thorough knowledge of subject. Substantive. Thorough development of essay. Relevant to topic with adequate supporting details.
Good: Some knowledge of subject. Relevant to the topic. Adequate range of supporting details and limited development of essay
Fair: Limited knowledge of subject. Inadequate range of supporting details. Repetition of key ideas and details and inadequate development.
Poor: Does not show knowledge of subject. Non-Substantive. No supporting details. Does not communicate.
Language use (4 marks) Excellent: Excellent command of the language. Use of variety of sentences, appropriate choice of vocabulary and tense use.
Good: Good: Good command of the language. Use of variety of sentences, appropriate choice of vocabulary and tense use. Few gross errors noticeable. Fair: Fair command of the language. Little variety in sentence structure and limited vocabulary. A number of gross errors.
Poor: Very little command of the language, broken English and essay full of all sorts of errors and almost impossible to follow.
Conclusion (2marks)
Excellent: Clearly reflects content of essay. Gives strong sense of completeness and final judgment or solution.
Good: Somewhat related to content of essay. Gives a rather limited sense of completeness and solution not strongly expressed.
Fair: Unrelated to content of essay. Marked by a concluding signal but unconvincing. Non-substantive.
Poor: Unexpected. Not linked to the essay. No solution provided.

Source: Adapted from KNEC (2009)
APPENDIX D WORKPLAN
The following is the plan of activities by the researcher: DATE | ACTIVITY | August–December 2011 | Proposal writing | January –February 2012 | Proposal corrections | March-April 2012 | Submission of the proposal to the department | May-October 2012 | Defense of the proposal and submission of proposal to graduate school | November 2012 | Pilot study | January 2013 | Data collection | February 2013 | Data analysis | March 2013 | Submission of thesis to graduate school |

APPENDIX E
RESEARCH BUDGET ESTIMATES
ACTIVITY AMOUNT
Literature Review (traveling, photocopies e.t.c) 10,000.00
Preliminary visits to the target population 5,000.00
Stationary 15,000.00
Proposal writing 10,000.00
Piloting 5,000.00
Data collection 25,000.00
Thesis writing and binding 30,000.00
Contingencies 10,000.00
Grand total 110,000.00

APPENDIX F PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MANGA DISTRICT
SCHOOL CATEGORY 1. Nyambaria High School Boys 2. Geke Secondary Mixed 3. Nyaguku Secondary Mixed 4. St Paul’s Gekano Secondary Boys 5. Mokomoni S.D.A Secondary Mixed 6. St Thomas Gekano Secondary Mixed 7. Miriri Secondary Mixed 8. Bogwendo Secondary Mixed 9. St. Andrew’s Nyamwanga Mixed 10. Nyaikuro Secondary Mixed 11. Tombe Girls’ High Girls 12. Gesure ELCK Secondary Mixed 13. Irianyi Secondary Mixed 14. Ikonge S.D.A Secondary Mixed 15. Morako Secondary Mixed 16. Tombe Secondary Mixed 17. St Mary’s Ekerubo Secondary Mixed 18. Mokwerero Secondary Mixed 19. Kiendege Secondary Mixed 20. Ogango S.D.A Secondary Mixed 21. Nyaisa Manga Secondary Mixed 22. Sengera Manga Secondary Mixed 23. Ikobe Secondary Mixed 24. Manga Orotuba Secondary Mixed 25. St Paul’s Nyachichi Secondary Mixed 26. Kiabiraa Secondary Mixed
FEED BACK
Feed back is of utmost importance to the working process without which individual attention and sufficient feeback on errors, improvement will not take place . It’s teachers responsibility to help learners to develop strategies for self-correction and regulation. Therefore, LS writers require and expect feedback from teachers not only on content but also on the form and structure of writing( myles,2002). Teaching and Learning Resources
Instructional resources are valvable tools of enhancing learning motivation( Omulando,2009)
Dale(1996) classifies teaching and learning resources as follows: visual materials that include both projected and non projected resources, audio-visual resources that include television, films video tapes, second film trips, printed materials which include books, charts, magazines and audio resources that include audio tapes, radio and telephone.
KIE English language syllabus for secondary scawls(2002) recommends the use of class readers and literature set books should be used as sources of working tasks. Other resources such as pictures can be used to generate ideas for writing.

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...JESSLYNE (090503322) STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT ASSIGNMENT NOKIA CASE STUDY JESSLYNE (090503322) STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT ASSIGNMENT NOKIA CASE STUDY SUMMARY Nokia, once a world leader in wireless telecommunications, has lost nearly 39% of its market share to its competitors and in some instances to no name companies. In 80s and 90s Nokia expanded through the acquisition of many other companies with various technologies. Due to this rapid expansion, Nokia lost focus of its ingenuity in wireless communications. However Nokia reorganized by selling most of its businesses which were not performing well and directed its focus once again to its wireless technologies. Acquisition of Sega in 2003 and then merger with Siemens AB in 2006 put Nokia once again in a place where it could compete its rivals. RIM’s blackberry and Apple’s iPhone are the major rivals and have a large market share from business users and consumers. * According to Nokia’s business strategy; the winning strategy is based upon the following factors. Best mobile devices regardless the price and geographical location * Provide extensive internet solutions on mobile devices * Enter into the markets by providing business mobility solutions to the corporate users Analysis: I believe that Nokia’s strategy is a winning strategy for the following reasons: * Business solutions: Innovative Business mobility solutions will attract the corporate users, since Nokia devices are based upon a very......

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Strategic Management

...BUSI 1317: Srategic management | Lincoln Electric | The Welding Industry’s Titan | | | | 1st December, 2014 ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to analyze Lincoln Electric’s overall strategy and business model and evaluate how generalizable is the company’s business model in other industries, specifically focusing on feasible strategies for one of the fastest developing country, India. | Contents Lincoln Electric’s Background 2 Recent Reporting 2 Main Features of the Lincoln Electric Business Model 2 Company Philosophy 2 Overall Strategy 3 Compensation, Leadership and Communication 3 How generalizable is Lincoln Business Model to other industries? 4 How generalizable is the Lincoln’s approach to India? 5 Employment System 5 Incentive System 6 Conclusion 6 Appendices 7 Exhibit 1: Hofstede's Dimensions Comparison - India & USA 7 Exhibit 2: India and U.S GDP Comparison 7 Bibliography 8 Lincoln Electric’s Background Lincoln Electric Company is the largest manufacturer of welding equipment in the world and has been in existence for over 100 years since 1895. The founder, John C. Lincoln started the business selling his own designed electric motors with the $200 he made from redesigning Herbert Henry Dow’s engine (Paul F. Buller, 2006). The company grew steadily, and in 1906 sales rise to $50,000 a year. John expanded his work force and in 1907, his brother, James F. Lincoln joined the company as a senior manager and......

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Strategic Management

...THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK At NEW PALTZ “Great Food. Low Prices. Friendly Service.” STRATEGIC MARKETING PLAN GROUP 5: DUYGU KAYACIOGLU JENNIFER CASTILLO ANNA TRUONG-CHAU SCARLETT PANEPINTO ABDON WADE DR. RUSSELL ZWANKA BUS 429-01 Marketing Strategy Monday, November 16, 2015 Table of Contents ● Executive Summary………………………………………………………… 2 ● Stop & Shop Description…………………………………………………… 3 ○ Overview, History and Successes of Company ● Stop & Shop Strategic Plan and Focus………………………………….. 4 ○ Mission/Vision ○ Financial and Nonfinancial Goals ○ Core Competencies and Sustainable Competitive Advantage ● Situational Analysis………………………………………………………….. 6 ○ Microenvironment ○ Macroenvironment ○ SWOT Analysis (Macro and Microenvironment Factors).... ● Market-Product Focus……………………………………………………… 10 ○ Growth Strategies ○ Target Markets ● Marketing Program Strategy and Tactics……………………………….. 12 ○ 4 Elements of Marketing Mix......

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