Tactile Materials as Correlates of Performance in Mathematics Among Learners in Thika High School for the Blind, Kiambu County, Kenya
Musango, Loise Mumbua
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The purpose of the study was to assess the use of tactile materials as correlates of performance in Mathematics among learners in Thika High School for the Blind. The objectives were to: identify the tactile Mathematics materials used by teachers while teaching learners who are blind; explore the adequacy of the tactile teaching and learning materials; identify the challenges that teachers face in adapting Mathematic tactile teaching materials; investigate learners‟ perception on Mathematics tactile learning materials and investigate general performance of Mathematics among the learners who are blind. Two hypotheses were tested in this study. This study adopted social constructivism theory and used a case study research design. Target population was 85 respondents comprising 5 Mathematics teachers and 80 learners who are blind in the school. Purposive sampling technique was used to select Mathematics teachers while stratified random sampling was used to select the learners who are blind according to class and gender. Thereafter, simple random sampling was used to select 24 learners. Questionnaires were used to collect data. Pilot study was done at St Lucy School for the Blind to test validity and reliability of the research instruments. Quantitative data was collected, coded and organized. After analysis of data, the findings were presented in graphs, pie charts and bar graphs with the aid of Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS version 20). The major findings were: available resources are inadequate and unsuitable to effectively assist learners‟ performance. Some teachers were not proficient in Braille Mathematics, thus a major hindrance for them to teach effectively. Many respondents recommended that the government should set aside more funds for Mathematic teaching and learning resources since their use in teaching was of uttermost importance. Therefore, this study recommends a need for the Ministry of Education to introduce AT courses in teacher training colleges. In addition, more time should be allocated in the school timetable for effective use of materials in teaching Mathematics to learners with visual impairment. Also, there is need for proper planning; preparation, presentation, appropriate application and essential follow up make the use tactile Mathematics materials ineffective by the teachers.