Peter Kairu Kamuri, who teaches English language at North Karati secondary school in Naivasha, has authored several books that are spot on to the needs of students and teachers.
Kamuri has vast classroom experience in teaching English and the latest testing techniques adopted by the Kenyan National Examinations Council. He bridges the vast gap that exists between the Knec’s expectations and students’ approaches in English composition writing.
Kamuri’s journey into publishing began when he became an examiner with Knec in 2007. He is an examiner in the KCSE English paper three, which tackles imaginative composition and essays based on set text books. This exercise opened his eyes to crucial areas in which students make mistakes.
In April, Kamuri published a bold motivational title, 15 Habits of “A” Students. As far as motivational titles go for secondary school pupils, the book is spot on with plenty of anecdotes and illustrations that the average secondary school pupil can identify with. The grammar is easy and the layout is simple with many sub titles per chapter that tackle specific issues.
15 Habits of “A” Students is divided into 15 chapters which tackle personal organisation, self discipline and developing a positive attitude. Whereas some writers in this genre have traditionally based their scripts on confessions of their own woeful lives and how they overcame obstacles, Kamuri’s book has no such pretensions. Instead, he examines the pretty obvious killers to students’ dreams like laziness, herd mentality, negative attitude, low self esteem and lack of initiative, and ambition and so on.
Certainly, many pupils have heard of most these things discussed in various forums and most likely in a disjointed and superficial way. But Kamuri packages them in an organised and exhaustive manner, tackling each factor to depth under several short subtexts that are easy to read. For example, in the chapter on asking questions, the writer gives the anecdote of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who is quoted saying that his company runs on questions, not answers. Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton are quoted famously for asking why the Galapagos Islands have so many species not found anywhere else and why an apple falls downwards and not upwards, respectively! In pursuit of answers to these questions, these two Englishmen would formulate the theories of evolution and gravity, respectively, and change the scientific world view since.
It doesn’t end there. Kamuri brings home the virtue of asking questions by enumerating the benefits of asking questions in class. He also lists the reasons why students don’t ask questions.
This format, of cascading every chapter downwards to the intended readers’ situation and connecting it to them, is adopted throughout the book, making it highly relevant and meaningful to secondary school pupils.
The book is bound to resonate well with pupils. And with it, Kamuri spectacularly redeems all teachers from the notion that they are in deep sleep and cannot put their vast experiences on paper.