An assessment of the teaching of braille literacy in Zambia: a case of a school for the visually impaired in Ndola district.

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Masika, Moses Sakai
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The University of Zambia
With the recent introduction of a curriculum and grades syllabi to guide specialist teachers on how to teach Braille as a subject, there hasn’t been a study to review the current practices regarding the teaching of Braille Literacy. This study therefore, sought to contribute to the understanding of teaching Braille Literacy in special schools in Zambia. Specifically, the study sought to assess the practices in teaching of Braille Literacy, find out methods and techniques used in teaching it and establish associated challenges. A mixed methods design supported by use of qualitative and quantitative techniques were used to collect and analyse data. Purposive sampling was used to select the respondents. The instruments used were questionnaires, observation schedule, and focus group discussion. The sample size was 70 broken down as; 35 pupils and 30 teachers from the study school, and 5 lecturers from two teacher education institutions. Data was collected through use of questionnaires and interview guides. Qualitative data was coded and analysed getting themes and sub-themes presented descriptively. Quantitative data was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) software version 20 to generate descriptive statistical information in form of frequencies and percentages. Some of the findings were that; Braille Literacy was being taught although teachers faced a lot of challenges in teaching it. Braille Literacy was not taught as a separate subject and English as opposed to a familiar language was used from grades one to four. Both trained and untrained specialist teachers were assigned to teach it, ordinary methods of teaching were applied, too many pupils in one class and lack of educational resources. These were found to be the major findings in the study school. Based on the above findings, the study recommended that Ministry of Education consider deploying more qualified personnel to schools for the visually impaired; make available teaching and learning resources to support Braille Literacy education in schools for the visually impaired.
Thesis of of Master of Education in Special Education.