Development of signs for scientific terms in schools for the hearing impaired
Wanjau, Agnes Wanja.
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This study was designed to specifically develop signs for scientific terms commonly used in the teaching and learning of science in primary and secondary schools for the hearing-impaired in Kenya. The greatest problems faced by the deaf individuals continue to be related to matters of communication with the predominant society. Hearing impairment interferes with both reception and production of language. Because language influences practically every dimension of development, inability to hear and speak is a critical deficit that may have an unfavorable social and academic adjustment. In order to alleviate the communication handicap amongst the deaf learners, the Kenya Institute of Education (K.I.E) has so far developed a sign language textbook with a vocabulary covering various fields of knowledge. However, signs to represent scientific terms important to the subject matter in primary and secondary schools have not been included in this book. Consequently, communicative interchange between teachers and the learners has been difficult during science lessons. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to develop signs to represent scientific terms that will make communication during science lessons easy, fluent and accurate. The design that was used is descriptive survey to find out the scientific terms, important to the subject matter, for which signs would be developed. The population of study was drawn from two schools for the hearing-impaired in Nyeri District. A purposive sample was selected from the two schools for the hearing impaired in the district. Study subjects were randomly selected from forms two, three, and four and standards six, seven and eight. A total of thirty-three participants were involved in the study. Twenty-eight out of the 33 participants were pupils and five science teachers. A checklist of scientific terms and a videotape were used to collect data. Two hundred terms were nominated from the chosen terns and signs developed for each of them. The collected data was later analyzed linguistically. Each new sign was judged as appropriate on the basis of clarity, appearance and cultural acceptability, and then presented in simple descriptions and illustrations by a fine artist.