Determining Classroom Communication and Academic Performance of Learners with Hearing Impairment; a Case of Kambui School for the Deaf- Kiambu County-Kenya
Muiruri, Lucy Wambui
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Determining classroom communication and academic performance of learners with hearing impairment was central to this study. While language and communication are perceived as the main problems encountered by learners with HI, it is assumed that, if teachers and learners are able to communicate, learners with HI can learn. The main argument of this study is that, although proficiency in SL among teachers does play a great role in the education of learners with HI, it is not sufficient in offering quality education in this context. Other needs of learners with HI should be addressed during the teaching and learning process through T/L materials and classroom environment. The study was conducted in Kambui School for the Deaf. The study employed descriptive case study design, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative in gathering data. The study was guided by Total Communication theory. The study took an exploratory approach and focused on the quality of communication during T/L processes in special school. Data was collected mainly through lesson observation, questionnaire and interviews with teachers and learners with HI. English and KSL were the main language used in data collection. The study found that, assessment practices seemed not to be suitable for learners with HI to express what they knew. Although teaching and learning took place in SL assessment was through reading and writing in English .In addition, while Deaf teachers did not generally encounter communication problems in teaching, most hearing teachers lacked sufficient proficiency in KSL (the language of instruction) a phenomenon that affected dialogue in teaching. A few teachers used appropriate T/L materials. This contributed to lack of learners’ participation in T/L process that could affect their academic performance. On the basis of these study findings, the study concluded that, classroom communication is one of the most important aspects to consider when discussing the successful teaching and learning of learners with HI. Therefore, recognizing the expert knowledge of Deaf teachers gained from their experiences as teachers and formerly as learners with HI, and their proficiency in SL would contribute towards providing the learners with opportunities to learn more. In addition, a combination of a general quality improvement of educational resources which would be relevant for all learners and specific interventions for learners with HI is an approach that would support learners with HI to achieve more in their learning.