Effect of Kenyan Sign Language on Academic Performance of Learners with Hearing Impairment: Case of Kedowa Special School, Kericho County, Kenya
Kalya, Joseph Kiprotich
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The purpose of the study was to establish the effect of Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) on academic performance of hearing impaired learners in Kedowa Special School, Kericho County, Kenya. The government has done all it could to make KSL an acceptable mode of communication to the deaf and the hearing. This includes its recognition in the new Constitution and its inclusion as an examinable subject in the National examinations. Despite all these efforts, it has been noted that learners with hearing impairments continue to lag behind their hearing peers in the national examinations like Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate for Secondary Education (K.C.S.E). The objectives of the study was establish the extent of Kenya Sign Language use by teachers on academic performance of hearing impaired learners in Kedowa Special School; determine the availability of Kenya Sign Language teaching and learning resources on academic performance of hearing impaired learners in Kedowa Special School Kericho County; establish the effects of teachers training in Kenya Sign Language on academic performance of hearing impaired learners in Kedowa Special School Kericho County and establish the effects of social factors in use of Kenya Sign Language on academic performance of hearing impaired learners in Kedowa Special School Kericho County. The study employed a case study as its research design and used interviews, archival records, questionnaires and observation as its instruments. The reliability of the instruments was determined using the test-re-test method while its validity was determined by the help of KSL experts and the researcher‟s lecturers and supervisors. A purposive sampling technique was used to arrive at the sample size of 181 respondents. Data was analyzed using the SPSS version 21 by first categorizing the responses from the different respondents, editing them and then computing them in respect to the objectives and research questions of the study. The findings of the study, shows that KSL was not used in the schools due to lack of teaching materials and resources like books. KSL has a positive influence on learners‟ academic performance and on other subjects. The teachers who teach in KSL did not have adequate training in Kenya Sign language. This is a big setback in the desire for effective academic performance of learners. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education should provide adequate teaching and learning resources for special schools for the deaf for successful implementation of KSL. Teachers need to display on the wall the charts and diagrams so that learners can read over and over again in order to enhance academic performance. Teachers in special schools should be trained through workshops, seminars or in- serviced on methods of teaching deaf students using KSL and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) should post teachers who have been trained in KSL to special schools for the deaf. Further research can be done in other schools and on the Teachers‟ attitude towards the use of Kenya Sign Language as a language of instruction to learners with hearing impairment, or on availability and utilization of teaching and learning resources in special schools for the deaf on the implementation of Kenya Sign Language.