Views of teachers and parents on use of local sign language in teaching literacy education among hearing-impaired learners in lower grades: a case of selected primary schools in Lusaka, Zambia
Zulu, Bester Brango
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This study examined the views of teachers and parents on use of local sign language in teaching literacy education to hearing-impaired learners in lower grades. The objectives of the study were to: identify local language signs used in the teaching of literacy education in schools; establish the views held by teachers and parents on the use of local sign languages in literacy education and assess approaches teachers used in teaching literacy education through localised sign language and explore factors affecting the use of local signs in literacy education for the hearing-impaired learners. This study used an interpretative research design supported by qualitative approach. The sample size was 36 participants: - consisting of 4 head teachers, 16 specialist teachers and 16 parents of learners with hearing impairments in lower grades. Purposive sampling technique was used to select teachers and parent participants. The researcher used observation checklist and interview guides as instruments for data collection. Collected data was analysed using thematic analysis and presented descriptive voices of the participants to support the findings. The study revealed that there were a lot of common local signs hearing-impaired learners come with from home such as iconic signs representing ball, house, snake, then descriptive signs such as fat, thin, tall and action signs such as eat, drink, sleep, laugh and cook. These formed a base on which lessons were built. It was also found that localised sign language was not working well as most signs were adapted from sign English and very few signs were in localised sign language to support learning. The study also revealed that teachers and parents held positive views on use of local signs in literacy education. The study further revealed that approaches teachers use in teaching literacy education through localised sign language involved pictures, wood cad real object and involved demonstration and role play. The research revealed that there were several factors affecting use of local signs in literacy education. For instance, some words in local sign language had no signs so hearing-impaired learners children cannot understand variation with local signs teachers had no orientation on use of local signs, formulating a friendly curriculum to meet the needs of each learner was difficult and materials were not available to support use of localised signs in literacy education on confusion from mother tongue. The study recommended that the Ministry of General Education should formalise the use of local sign language across different tribes in Zambia and that teachers should receive orientation and training in the use of local signs in the teaching of literacy education to the hearing-impaired learners. Keywords: Local Sign Language, English Sign-language, Literacy Education, Hearing- impaired.
University of Zambia