Examining strategies used to teach english language to hearing impaired learners: the case of Machakos Teachers' College
Nzau, Angela Phoebe
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Since 2003, Kenya prioritized education for all including free primary and secondary education where every child has a right to free and compulsory basic education without discrimination. One of the most fundamental needs for the hearing impaired learners was the acquisition of English language which is a critical aspect in education. Mwangi (2007) emphasized the importance of English Language as an official language and medium of instruction in schools. It was viewed as an important tool to the learner's intellectual growth and professional development. Skinner (1957) explained how language provided by the environment influence learners as they perceived environmental happenings and respond to their demands. The objectives of this study were to identify strategies that could be combined to help tutors and learners in teaching and learning of English language to realize better results. The researcher also investigated how oral and manual strategies would be used to enable learners with HI improve their English language performance. This study applied a case study design which was appropriate to the study because it was restricted to fact finding and helped to come up with solutions to the problem. Questionnaires were designed for the tutors, learners and interpreters. Qualitative description was used in order to establish the consistency of the instruments in eliciting the same responses whenever they were administered. The study indicated a strong relationship between. responses of all the instruments. Detailed analysis and description was done using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Chi-Square statistical tool was used to determine the significant relationship between the interpreters, learning materials, methods and learners with H.I's performance at 95% confidence level. Scales were created from various descriptive statistics. Distribution tables and figures were used to summarize the findings. The study was conducted at Machakos Teachers Training College, with the 18 learners with hearing impairment, 7 tutors who teach English Language and 4 interpreters were involved in the study. The study showed that tutors used oral method of communication which did not help the H.I learners to get all the information through lip reading. It was found out that, the access to full content was highly dependent on the tutors learning sign language to enable them combine strategies. Learners with H.I revealed that the interpreters had sign inconsistency for the same concept. Learners with HI found it hard to make consultations after the lesson because of the language barrier. The HI learners, the tutors and the interpreters were of the opinion that combining strategies of teaching would improve the learners' English language results. They said this approach may solve a problem of clarity, getting first hand information and bring a sense of inclusion. The tutors concluded by requesting to be taught sign language so that they could be able to address all the learners at the same time and be able to combine the strategies at will. The study recommended strongly combination of Signed English, Signing Exact English facial expressions and speech as the only solution that would make learners with HI understand better than using the interpreters.