Analysis of teachers’ competencies, teaching and learning strategies teachers use to educate pupils with learning disabilities in regular public primary schools in Thika West district, Kiambu county: Kenya
Njuguna, Milka Njeri
MetadataShow full item record
The study aimed at establishing the professional qualifications of teachers educating learners with learning disabilities. It also intended to investigate whether teachers in regular public schools are able to identify and assess learners with learning disabilities. Another aim was to establish the teaching, learning strategies and materials used by teachers when educating learners with LD. Finally, the study intended to find out whether there were collaborative structures and support that have been put in place in schools to help learners with LD. The study adopted both qualitative and quantitative research approaches where mixed methods design was used to collect and analyze data from headteachers, teachers and learners. The study embarked on interviews for headteachers by use of structured interview schedule, semi-structured\fuestionnaires for teachers and finally a lesson observation schedule for learners with LD and materials utilized in classroom. The study was conducted in Thika West District, Juja zone. Purposive sampling was used to select the district, schools, classes 1-4, headteachers and teachers. Learners with learning disabilities were randomly selected after being identified through the use of an identification tool containing characteristics of LD. Identification was done four weeks prior to the study. The sample size comprised 4 headteachers, 32 teachers and 64 learners making a total of 100 respondents. Data collected were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data from the questionnaires for teachers and observation schedule for the learners and materials were analyzed using statistical package of social sciences (SPSS). Data collected using an interview schedule and open-ended questions from questionnaires were analyzed qualitatively. The results were obtained and presented based on the objectives and questions formulated for the study. The study found that all teachers had professional qualifications to teach classes 1-4 but majority had not specialized in the area of LD. However, though headteachers had special education training, tpere was no evidence of support of LD. None of the headteachers had started an LD 'programme in their respective schools. The study also found that though teachers claimed to have knowledge of identifying learners with LD, they did not have any identification tool in class. The study also found out that the teachers used a variety of teaching methods but they experienced difficulties helping the learners. In collaboration, the study found out that teachers worked together in identification, instructing and assessing learners with LD among other areas but needed more training to enhance their skills in collaboration. The study concluded that inadequate knowledge for identification of LD and failure to use an identification tool in class could be the possible reason why teaching and learning strategies used by teachers could not work. This is because individual learners with LD were not identified and the skills deficit were also not identified hence appropriate intervention not done. The study recommended that the Ministry of Education facilitate workshops and in-service training for teachers to enable them acquire modern teaching and learning methods. KIE to ensure that standardized identification and assessment tools and modified teaching materials are developed. Finally, pullout programms initiated in schools so that learners with specific learning difficulties can be assisted by the resource teacher and joins the rest in class.