Challenges faced by left handed learners and their effect on academic performance in Schools: A case of left handed learners in selected Urban Primary Schools in Mansa District of Luapula Province

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Nsama, Andrew W.P.
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Handedness refers to the hand that performs faster or more precisely on tasks or that one prefers to use, regardless of performance. Handedness covers an entire system of interrelated functions including eyedness and footness referred to as laterality. It is controlled by brain dominance.Dominance of the right hemisphere of the brain predicates left-handedness and vice versa.This influences sensory and motor differences in behaviour and thinking. This study investigated the challenges faced by left handed in schools and their effects on academic performance. The participants who were interviewed and responded to the questionnaires included 24 teachers, 31 left handed learners and 28 parents drawn from six urban primary schools in Mansa District. The study revealed that traditional cultural and misinterpretation of religious beliefs force parents, teachers and community members to force left handed children to convert to right handedness. Due to such beliefs left handed learners are discriminated tortured, treated with scorn and disdain. The study revealed that the process of forcing left handed to convert has psychological effect on the behaviour which in the long run affects the academic performance. Though left handedness is not an obstacle in mental development, this study revealed that there are challengesthat may inhibit some left handed learners from achieving their full potentials in terms of academic achievements. The study recommends that teachers should allow learners use preferred hand that would enable them to learn without being stressed. Methodologies to address the individual needs of both the left and right handed learners in class should be designed. Further, when sourcing for desks, special consideration should be made for those who are left handed.
Left-and right-handedness