THE CONTRIBUTION OF SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE (SMS) ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS COMMUNICATION SKILLS IN NAIROBI COUNTY

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ABSTRACT
The study was designed to investigate the contribution of Short Message Service to the writing skills of secondary school students. The main objective of the study was to examine the possible effects of use of language of texting on English language performance at the level of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. Specifically, the study sought to establish the influence of the spellings and punctuation habits of the language of SMS on Standard English, to determine if Secondary school students use SMS language when writing their examinations and an investigation on whether the poor performance in English is associated with language of texting. To achieve this, the research adopted a qualitative research approach drawing all respondents through purposive sampling. The theoretical foundation of the study is a Cognitive Process Theory of Writing. Data was collected through key informant interviews using open ended interview schedules as well as reviewing existing documentation in form of reports. The data collected was analysed according to the objectives of the study and the findings presented through thematic analysis. The themes around which data was discussed include spellings, punctuation, grammar and instance of jargon in formal writing. Document analysis corroborated the findings of the study. The study found out that there was an insignificant relationship between language of texting and Standard English that should warrant for conclusions by policy makers that the poor grades on English language was as a result of influence from language of texting. The study concludes that the influence of language on Standard English is insignificant and policy makers should look at the pertinent issues that have led to students performing dismally in English at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education level. The study recommends that a study should be carried out on the cause of poor grades amongst students in English and a local study should be carried on pre-teenage students to justify the analogy that exposure to language of texting at early levels improves the literacy levels of students.

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