Expectations of handicapped students and their teachers in the learning and teaching of science subjects in Kenyan special secondary schools for the physically handicapped.
Muriithi, Evanson Muriuki
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The study focuses on the expectations of handicapped students and their teachers in the learning and teaching of science subjects in Kenyan Special Secondary Schools. Science subjects in this case include physics, chemistry, and Biology. The Choice of the topic under study was influenced by the increasing concern for the underprivileged people in the society, especially when the issue of equal opportunities in education is over emphasized. Since the society is becoming technologically oriented, there was need, therefore, for awareness of the expectations of the handicapped students in science since sciences are the basis of any technological improvement. In carrying out the study, a questionnaire based on the five point likert scale was used such that the respondents either strongly agreed, agreed, were not sure, disagreed or strongly disagreed. The same questionnaire was used both for students and teachers except in section 1 where personal general information was sought. An interview using a structured schedule was conducted with the heads of the institutions and also the heads of Science departments. Through this means, more issues affecting the learning of Sciences in special schools were discussed. The responses given were then coded and their means (averages) calculated to show the degree of either agreement or disagreement. The expectations of different groups i.e. male and female teachers and boys and girls at different class levels were compared using the x2 technique. In the study six aspects of the sciences were investigated; role of the teacher in teaching sciences, role of the student in learning sciences, the content and context of sciences, teachers' and students' image of a scientist, the academic and professional background of science teachers and sex differences in the subject areas. Each aspect was analysed and discussed separately and the expectations of different groups compared accordingly. The findings showed no significant differences in expectations between boys and girls, male and female teachers and form 2 and form 4 students. Preference in learning context was in the order laboratory, field, classroom, home and the office. The traditional methods of teaching sciences were still in force. The traditional methods of teaching sciences were still in force, though the students expected to learn the process skills. Both students and teachers were well articulated, teachers were professionally qualified but not qualified to handle the handicapped students and the students were comfortable being in special schools expect for boys who thought they could survive in regular schools. The implications of these findings to the study of the sciences among the physically handicapped were discussed and recommendations made to teacher educators, examiners, students, donors and policy makers among which was a call to all parties to review their roles with an aim of bringing the handicapped students in the mainstream of learning the sciences.
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