Hearing impairment and its implications on classroom learning: A study of children from selected Special Schools and Units in Lusaka District of Zambia
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The purpose of this study was to look at hearing impairments (HI) and its implications on classroom learning in selected Special Schools and Units in Lusaka District. The study utilised a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. A case study design was used in conducting this research. Data were collected through focus group discussion (FGD), questionnaires and structured interviews. The sample for the study consisted of 80 participants: 50 pupils with hearing impairments from Grades 5-7, 20 Specialist teachers and 10 parents. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) from which frequencies, percentages and graphs were generated while qualitative data obtained through interviews were coded and grouped by establishing emerging themes. The study established that: Pupils with hearing impairments do not easily form friendships and this is attributed to lack of oral language development which hinders them from acquiring social skills. Lack of sign language by peers contributes to communication barriers between the hearing and the hearing impaired. This lack of sign language leads to a ‘shared handicap communication’ between the deaf and hearing peers. Pupils with difficulties in language development do not perform at the same pace as those without difficulties. Since pupils with hearing impairments experience difficulties in oral and written it contributes to poor academic performance experienced by these pupils. Lack of interaction contributes to poor academic performance in class of children with hearing impairments. Poor interaction is attributed to limited production of intelligible speech and inadequacy in understanding how others think and feel. Parent-child relationship plays an important role in strengthening socialization of children with hearing impairments. It further indicates that hearing impaired children with deaf parents usually develops language faster than those born from hearing parents. The study recommends that: The Government of Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education should design programs to incorporate both hearing children and those with hearing impairments. In this case drama activities and role plays depicting interaction of both the hearing and the hearing impaired should be encouraged. MoESVTEE should promote programmes and activities in schools that emphasizes on integration between the hearing impaired and the non–hearing impaired children. Through integration pupils with hearing impairments will be able to learn fr-p om their hearing peers. This makes the deaf feel accepted in society. MoESVTEE to introduce early childhood education to hearing impaired learners. This will enable theses children to learn social skill early in life and this will help them to transcend without difficulties in later school life. Challenges faced by children with (HI) in social skills come as a result of not being exposed earlier in life to the speech world. Therefore, once these children are exposed to education early in life, issues of stigma will be minimised as the children would have learnt early in life on how to cope up with such pressures.
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