Teacher competencies in the development of English-speaking skills in selected secondary schools of Kitui county, Kenya.
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ABSTRACT Many researchers in language education revealed that teachers of the English language ignore the development of speaking skills. Yet speaking is the most fundamental aspect of any language learning process. This study was set to investigate English teachers' competencies in developing the learners' speaking skills while analysing teachers, knowledge, abilities in creating speaking activities and attitudes towards its development. The study adopted a phenomenological qualitative study design that employed teacher interviews, lesson observations and student focus group discussions. The researcher found that even if teachers were qualified, they could not demonstrate knowledge in creating techniques and activities that help learners adequately develop the skill. Teachers confessed that the challenges they encountered with developing the skill made them focus less on teaching it. The conclusion was that teachers had a negative attitude toward developing speaking skills and lacked the creativity to organise activities in lessons to develop speaking skills. The researcher recommended that teachers be availed with and trained in modern teaching methodologies and the use of IT in teaching language. Also, the researcher recommended that the KICD further reduces the content of the syllabus to create more time for English lessons. The Ministry of Education should adjust teacher courses to reconsider learner-centered teaching methods.