Factors inhibiting the learning of mathematical skills among pupils with hearing impairments:the case of selected Basic Schools in Ndola and Lufwanyama Districts, Zambia
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The purpose of this study was to analyse factors inhibiting the learning of mathematical skills among pupils with hearing impairments. The objectives of the study were to identify mathematical skills taught to hearing impaired pupils in lower basic classes. The study further looked at the mode of communication used in the teaching of mathematical skills to hearing impaired pupils, establishing instructional strategies used and their impact on the learning of mathematical skills among pupils with hearing impairments. Assessment of the availability of educational resources and their suitability in the learning of mathematical skills among pupils with hearing impairments was also investigated. Four schools were randomly selected for investigation in 2006. The instruments used in the data collection included structured interviews, semi-structured interviews and observation schedule for the teachers of hearing impaired pupils and focus group discussion guide for pupils with hearing impairments. The collected data provided both qualitative and quantitative information.The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was employed to analyse the quantitative data. The data were presented in tables, percentages and charts. Qualitative data from interviews were coded and emerging themes were grouped into categories using constant comparative analysis technique.The results of the study revealed that there were inadequate specialized teachers to teach pupils with hearing impairments. The study also found out that pupils with hearing impairments faced a lot of problems in learning mathematical skills and these came about as a result of inadequate teaching and learning materials, lack of remedial work to help hearing impaired pupils improve in learning mathematical skills and seconded teachers who were not conversant with sign language. The factors inhibiting pupils with hearing impairments learn mathematical skills emanated from teachers' poor teaching strategies and non-availability of educational resources suitable in learning and teaching of mathematical skills among pupils with hearing impairments.The teacher is the key contributor to pupils' learning of mathematical skills and as such, take centre stage in the success or failure in acquiring and developing mathematical skills among pupils with hearing impairments. Further, the pupils' inhibiting factor of not learning mathematical skills was characterized by inadequate teaching skills from teachers, insufficient learning materials, failure of classroom communication, inadequate skills of sign language and the relationship between teachers and pupils. This was especially observed during the time of learning. The study recommended that schools where the hearing impaired pupils learn be provided with learning aids for them to grasp mathematical skills.Teachers of the hearing impaired pupils need to be adequately trained to be able to use different methods and strategies. Teachers must be conversant with sign language.
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