The Effect of Teachers’ Use of Reinforcement on Learners’ Performance in English Language

  • Ndegwa Grace Konyu; Dr. Lucy Wathika; Dr Josephine Khaemba
Keywords: Learner, Learner’s performance, Second language acquisition, Positive reinforcement


The intention of the study was to establish the effect of teachers’ use of reinforcement on learners’ performance in English language. It was done in selected secondary schools in Nakuru town and used descriptive research design. The study was guided by Gardner and Lambert’s Socio-Educational model of second language acquisition. Stratified random sampling was employed in selecting four schools while simple random sampling was used to choose one stream in form two, three and four in each school for observation. It resulted in eight observational schedules. The study sample of 60 students in form 2-4 and 8 teachers of English was purposively selected for interviews. A total number of 353 learners were observed. The study used interviews, audio recording and Structured Observational Schedules for data collection. The data was presented in form of tables, figures and verbatim transcript excerpts used for exemplification and illustration in a qualitative explication. The findings of the study revealed that second language learners’ performance in English is greatly influenced by teachers’ use of reinforcement. Moreover, it proved that teachers of English give unguarded praises, negative statements and criticisms to English second language learners. This study is a vital contribution to the field of Second Language Acquisition theory and practice with regard to offering information and insight into reinforcement, motivation and attitude in practical language acquisition and learning in the classroom situation. These findings are useful in the improvement of second language learners’ performance in English. Teachers of English will also acquaint themselves with effective use of positive verbal reinforcement which works as a motivational force on learners’ acquisition and use of the English language.