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Children with hearing impairment and its impact on their educational achievements in BUEA.

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The study sought to examine the challenges faced by children with hearing disability and it impact on their educational achievement in secondary school in Buea municipality southwest region of Cameroon, the specific objectives of the study were: To Identify reasons which account why hearing impaired children always miss instructions, to examine the reasons why differences in sign languages bring about misunderstanding and to investigate reason why children with hearing impairment rely solely on a touch and find difficulties in a dark to communicate. From this objectives, three research questions were formulated and hypotheses state in both null and alternative forms were equally formulated. The study employed a structured questionnaire for data collection. the study adopted a survey research design with a sample of 30 teachers from 3selected secondary school in Buea municipality through a Purposive sampling technique and convenient sampling technique. The study instrument was pilot tested and equally subjected to Cronbach’s alpha coefficient using SPSS statistics to establish their validity and reliability. The calculated t-value for the hypothesis was greater than the t critical value of 0.17 at p≤0.05. the null hypothesis was rejected in favour of alternative hypothesis. It was therefore concluded that challenges faced by children with hearing impairment has significant influence on Dependent Variable. some recommendations were made: The government should construct classrooms in such a way that it will suit learners with hearing impairments such installing a good lighting systems in the class rooms and lastly not the least there should be a production of a new curriculum that involves one course on sing language for normal pupils and hearing impaired pupils in secondary schools.






1.0 Introduction


This chapter focusses on the background of the study, conceptual background, theoretical background, contextual background, empirical background, statement of problem, research objective, research questions, justification, scope of the study, significant of the study, definition of terms.


1.1 Background to the Study


The history of hearing impairment can be traced back to centuries before Christ(BC). for instance, around 1000BC a Hebrew law provided those with deafness and hearing impairment limited rights to own property and marry. This law protected those with hearing impairment from being cursed and maltreated by others, however this law did not grant them full rights to participate in rituals in the temple (AS info, 2010). Person with hearing impairment were consider to be “subnormal” by great philosophers of the time.  For instance, between 427BC and 347, Plato’s philosophy of innate intelligence was present at birth, therefore, everyone was born with ideas and language in their mine and require time to demonstrate their outward signs of intelligence through speech, person with hearing impairment could not speak and were therefor considered incapable of rational thoughts and ideas (AS info, 2010).


King George VI Memorial School was established in Bulawayo in 1945 with the aim of providing inclusive education to all students including pupils with challenges such as hearing impaired, the disabled as well as those that are not given opportunity to learn in a normal school set up. Some of the challenges facing such students is that they require a lot of funding in order to equip the school with appropriate training equipment especially when teaching practical lessons that include Food Preparation. Some hearing-impaired students will have enough residual hearing so that amplification through hearing aids, earphones, public address systems, or personal FM transmitter/receiver units will allow participation. It is always best to discuss with the student the requirements of a class and to determine if there are ways that the materials can be modified so that the student can participate in what may become an exciting learning experience for all concerned.


The education of students with special education needs has been a concern to the international community since the 1994 United Nations Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education (UNESCO,1994). World nations committed to provide access for students with special needs to be educated with their peers.


Cameroon Law No. 83/13, Article 3, of July 1983, provided for the needs and protection of individuals with disabilities with three major provisions: integration of children in ordinary schools, admission in special classes, and admission into specialized institutions (Protection of Disabled Persons, 2003). As of 2003, only 10 institutions (segregated schools for more significant disabilities such as visual impairments, multiple disabilities (mostly physical), deaf/hard of hearing, and behavioral disorders) existed in Cameroon that serve the needs of individuals with disabilities; out of the ten, only two are government institutions (Yuh & Shey, 2008).


1.1.1 Conceptual background


The concept of hearing impairment


According to NDCS (2008), a hearing impaired is anyone with a permanent or


temporary hearing loss. Apart from definition, NDCS identifies the levels of hearing


impairment as mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. On the other hand, Heward (2006) describes that; levels of hearing loss can be slight, mild, moderate,


severe and profound depending on the average hearing level. In education context, a hearing impaired is a student who is not able to use hearing to understand speech. This study dealt with permanent hearing loss which is severe or profound, and therefore, the term „hearing impairment‟ in this study refers to permanent hearing loss.


Concept of education achievement


Academic performance is measured in terms of past examination performance, performance in midterms and failure in modules (Roy, 2004; Tan & Yates, 2007). Academic success is important because it is strongly linked to positive outcomes. Not surprisingly, research shows that adults with high levels of education are more likely to be employed and to earn higher salaries (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001). Beyond work and wages, academic success is important because working Americans will need higher levels of education to tackle the technologically demanding occupations of the future (Brown, 1999). Furthermore, the number of jobs requiring a college education is expected to grow more than twice as fast as those not requiring a college education over the next ten to twenty years (Fleetwood & Shelley, 2000; Rentner & Kober, 2001). Academically successful students will have more employment opportunities than those with less education.


1.1.2 Contextual background


 The academic difficulties confronted by students even when they have access to support services. First, deaf and hard-of-hearing students who rely on interpreters are unable to participate fully in class discussions, because it takes the interpreter 5 to 10 seconds to sign what the instructor has said. The time delay, or “lag time,” thus does not provide deaf students sufficient time to engage in the class discussion before the instructor calls on another student or moves to another topic. Second, deaf students who rely on lip reading will encounter difficulties when instructors block the students’ line of sight unintentionally by holding papers too close to their faces, turning their faces away to write on the chalkboard, and pacing the room while lecturing. Third, laboratory courses that involve lecturing and classroom demonstrations pose a distinctive challenge hearing impaired students.


1.1.3 Theoretical background


Three theories will be used to inform the objective of the study, these theories include: The Constructivist theory, The theory of normalization theory, The theory of humanism, The social model of disability, This theory of Holcomb’s,


The Constructivist theory (1939) This theory seeks to inform the main objective of the study. Constructivism is a view that emphasizes the active role of students in building understanding and making sense of the information. The constructivist teaching is learner centered where students are actively involved in knowledge construction rather than mere passive listeners. Constructivists’ views can be organized in two forms: psychological and social. In Psychological constructivists’ view such as Piaget, students construct knowledge by transforming, organizing, reorganizing previous knowledge whereas in social constructivists’ view such as Vygotsky, opportunities are provided to students to learn through social interaction in construction of knowledge and understanding.


The theory of normalization (1970) this theory seeks to inform objective number one of the study. This theory involves the acceptance of people with disabilities offering them the same conditions as other citizens (Wilmshurst and Brue, 2005)


This theory of Holcomb’s (1968): Total Communication (TC) theory. Total Communication theory incorporates a number of different techniques of


communication. For instance, learners with hearing impairments are exposed to sign


language, speech, lip reading, pictures, mime, and writing. The philosophy of total


communication is that the technique should be fitted to the learner, instead of the other way round. For instance, learners with hearing impairments have individual needs such as limited sign language vocabulary.


The Social Model of Disability (1993): This theory seeks to inform objective number three. This theory holds that, disability is something imposed on top of our impairments by the way we are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society (Hodkinson and Vickerman, 2009).




1.2 Statement of problem


Repetition and failure in educational achievement, national examinations by children with hearing impairment continues to pose a challenge to the quality of education that these learners receive at various school levels. Children with hearing impairment do not perform comparably with their hearing peer in school and this have call the attention of this researcher to investigate the challenges faced and to what degree these challenges have on their educational achievement.


A higher level of education enables students with physical disabilities to get better chances to integrate into society in general, and into employment in particular, so that they may sustain themselves financially with dignity. Therefore, it is pertinent to promote an inclusive learning for them in learning institutions which lead to academic success, and this prompted the study. It is a serious issue that the numbers of students with disabilities participating in higher education are minimal. Various studies point to issues in the learning environment and participation of students with disabilities in secondary education. The learning process involved by hearing impaired pupils is not different from other pupils. However, these pupils face a number of challenges that other students do not face. Due to the hearing problem some of these students require highly specialized equipment to help them learn effectively.




1.3 Objective of the Study


Objectives of the study includes the main objective and specific objectives:


1.3.1 Main Objective


The main objective of this study is to examine the challenges faced by children with hearing disability and it impact on their educational achievement.


1.3.2 Specific objectives


To Identify reasons which account why hearing impaired children always miss instructions.

To examine the reasons why differences in sign languages bring about misunderstanding.

To investigate reason why children with hearing impairment rely solely on a touch and find difficulties in a dark to communicate.

1.4 Research question


The following general and specific research question have been generated to help attain research objectives.


1.4.1 General Research Question


What impact does challenges faced by children with hearing impairment have on their educational achievement?


1.4.2 Specific Research Questions


What are some of the reasons which account why hearing impaired children always miss instructions?

What are some of the reasons why differences in sign languages bring about misunderstanding?

Why children with hearing impairment rely solely on a touch and find difficulties in a dark to communicate?


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