Attitude of pre-school teachers towards inclusive education for children with hearing impairment in Makadara division, Nairobi, Kenya
Mwakachola, Majala Sylvia
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As Inclusive Education becomes a global educational trend, the primary goal is to enable every child with disability to access education within the natural environments of their community. Teachers play a crucial role in modeling inclusive attitudes and establishing expectations in the classroom. Research is unclear whether teachers are willing to embrace inclusive practices or not. The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of pre-school teachers towards inclusive education of children with hearing impairment. Selected factors at the microsystem, mesosystem and exosystem which included: type of school, professional and specialized training, prior teaching experience with children with hearing impairment and severity of the impairment were examined to establish if they were in interplay with the teachers attitudes towards inclusive education of children with hearing impairment. The population of the study was 180 teachers from 90 pre-schools in Makadara Division, Nairobi Province. 30 pre-schools are public and 60 are private preschools. Multistage sampling technique was used to come up with a representative sample of 90 teachers proportionally drawn from 45 pre-schools. The study applied a descriptive design and a survey to collect information from the 90 teachers. A questionnaire comprising of an attitudinal scale was used to collect data. Content validity and test-retest technique were used to determine validity and reliability of the instrument. Frequencies, means and percentages were used to describe variables whereas t-tests of Independent and paired samples and One way analysis of variance at p> 0.05 and p> 0.01 level of significance were used to test for statistical differences between teacher attitude and variables like type of school, level of professional and specialized training received, prior teaching experience with children with hearing impairment and severity of the impairment. The results showed that teachers attitude towards inclusive education of children with hearing impairment was moderately positive. The type of school, level of professional training and prior teaching experience with children with hearing impairment did not have a significant relationship with teachers' attitude towards inclusive education. The findings however, indicated a significant association between teacher attitude and the level of specialized training and severity of the impairment. This could imply that successful inclusive education strongly depended on intensive specialized training where techniques on teaching children with severe hearing problems are addressed. In conclusion, there needs to be a purposeful Special Needs Education training for pre-school teachers as well a model inclusive preschools within the communities where in-service training, is carried out on the job. These may act as role models paving way for a wider range of inclusive schools nationwide. Periodic screening for hearing impairment in all preschools may ascertain the prevalence of the hearing impairment for documentation and early intervention. Finally, the introduction of basic sign language in Pre-school Teacher Education, more seminars and workshops to sensitize all parents about inclusive education are necessary. It is suggested that the study be replicated to cover the whole Nairobi and thereafter the entire nation. Such a study might reveal the attitude of teachers at a wider scope to allow the rolling out of inclusive education.