Influence of Instructional Strategies and Learning Environment on Academic Achievement of Students with Hearing Impairments in Selected Public Universities in Kenya
Laki, Peninnah Mbaluka
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The purpose of this research study was to investigate and analyse the influence of instructional strategies and learning environment used by lecturers on academic achievement of students with hearing impairments in selected public universities. The objectives of the study were: establish support services in the learning environment for students with hearing impairment, identify the teaching methods used by lecturers to teach students with hearing impairments, identify the resource materials used to instruction of students with hearing impairments, determine whether the lecturers who teach students with hearing impairments, have relevant skills and establish the influence of instructional strategies and learning environment on academic achievement of students with hearing impairments. The research adopted a descriptive survey design whereby both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used. A pilot study was conducted to establish the validity and reliability of the research instruments. Data was then collected from lecturers, Dean of students’ affairs, chairpersons of Departments that offer university common units and students with hearing impairments. The universities were selected due to the fact that they admit students with Special Needs; hence, they have rich information on the theme of the study. Target population was composed of three Deans of Students’ Affairs, 15 chairpersons, 462 lecturers and 70 students with hearing impairments. On data analysis, the statistics were generated by means of statistical package of social sciences (SPSS) version 22.0, while qualitative data was analysed through narrative analysis and thematic approach. The findings revealed that lecturers who teach student with hearing impairments are not inducted on relevant teaching methods and 50.2% of them mainly modify seating position of students with Hearing Impairment. Selected public universities have no policy guidelines for students with HI. The study also revealed that lecturers are not specially trained to teach students with HI. Resource materials used were fair as reflected by 55.7% of students with HI. The selected public universities have inadequate resource materials for students with Hearing Impairments. Additionally, across the selected public universities medium of instruction was significantly different (χ2 = 42.298, P = 0.0001). Students’ respondents showed that the number of sign language interpreters were crucial but not enough for students with hearing impairments. Following these findings, the study recommended University Councils to avail bursaries for students with HI, and Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to allocate more funds to students with hearing impairments pursuing higher education in public universities to enable them to purchase hearing aids which are expensive.