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The Effects of Classroom Setting on the Academic Performance of Visually Impaired Students: The Case of BGS MolykO-BUEA

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The objective of this study was to fine out the effect of classroom setting on the performance of visually impaired students.  this work was done using the correlational design research, a number of questionnaire was given out to students of BGS Molyko and the rehabilitation institute of the Blind Bulu Mile 16 Buea. 12 Students participated. It is observed that 7(58.33%) of this student strongly agreed that student  with visual impairment  need help from others in a divided classroom while 5(41.66&) of this student agreed  that visually impaired student need help in divided classroom settting.5(41.66%)  of this students agreed that  a divided classroom setting  can improve  the  academic performance of visual impaired students8(66.66%) disagreed that student in a divided classroom don’t  learn well  while 4(33.66%) strongly agreed that students in a divided classroom setting don’t  learn well. 

On the second objective on desk clusters, 12 students took parts 8(66.66%) student agreed that their classroom is well structure for visual impaired students 4(33.66%) student strongly agreed to the fact that their school does not have well structure classroom for visual impaired. Looking at third objective on traditional classroom setting 6(59%) of the student strongly disagreed that in a traditional classroom student perform poorly, while 7(58.33%) student strongly agreed to the fact traditional classroom setting show the learning needs of student. 3(25%) students agreed that teachers don’t encourage traditional classroom setting while 9(75%) strongly agreed that teachers don’t encourage traditional classroom setting. From the above findings it shows that classroom setting plays and important role on the academic performance of visually impaired students in the Buea Municipality.






1.0 Introduction


Lip and Gartner. (1998) describes the classroom setting as a place where students with disability having full membership in their classes, schools and neighborhood with appropriate supplementary aids and support services.


To Anita et al (.2002) an organize classroom setting provides a student with disability unconditional belonging to and having full membership of a regular classroom in a regular school and community. In the past years classroom setting has encompass not only students with disabilities (visual impairment), but also all students who have been disadvantage. Earlier Skrtic et al. (1996) had argue that classroom setting which is an aspect of inclusive education in context goes beyond physical placement of student with disability in general classroom. But should involve the school environment leading to the classroom and other activities to collaborate with students having disabilities.

A classroom is supposed to provide a conducive learning environment for the visually impaired and other disabilities, the classroom will be conducive for the visually impaired students provided that its board its well situated, the light system is good and the desk position is well arrange , good ventilation .The chapter one of this research will cut across:-The Background of the study ,Statement of the problem, Objectives of the study, Major research questions, Significance of the study, Definition of important terms




1.1 Background of the study


According to individuals with disability act IDEA, (2004). As sighted in Turnbull, (1999) visual impairment is an impairment in vision that adversely affects a child’s educational performance despites its correction which therefore affect learning. In the educational field visually impairment is an inability to use vision as an avenue for learning. From the   concept of visual impairment it shows that it broad series of eye defect such as blindness, myopia, hypermetropia, dyscaculia and astigmatism.

A classroom is defined as any define place where teaching and learning is carried out. Fielding, Randall (March ,2006) “Color theory for classrooms and schools” explains that classroom is found in educational institution of all kinds, from pre-school to Universities, and may also be found in other places where education or training is provided such as corporations, religious and humanitarian organization. The classroom provides a space where learning can take place without interruption by outside distracters for example noise from music, vehicles and pollution. There are many types of classroom setting, which is set according to the category of pupil with special needs in the class.


Firstly, traditional classroom setting: Simms, R.L., & Knezek, G.A. (2002)., Traditional classroom are set up with five or six rooms all facing the front. The teacher’s desk is at the front and so are the chalkboards or whiteboards.  Storage cupboard and shelves are on the remaining walls. The pupils have enough space between then for them for the teacher to walk up to each student. This setup allows all the students to see the teacher and the chalkboard easy for the teacher to hand out papers because he or she can give paper to each student at the front of the row, desks or table work for this setup.


Secondly, horseshoe classroom setting: Arranging desks in a horseshoe allows student to face each other and see the teacher. The horseshoe shape is preferable to a circle because the teacher and student presenters can easily enter it and walk around to engage the other students. The horseshoe usually is open at the front so the teacher can reach the desk and chalkboard. This setup also works well for handing out papers. Desks work best for this setup; (Daniel Charles, 2003). Hard facts on Smart Classroom Design:


Thirdly, divided classroom setting: Woolner, Pamela (2010) in their “Design of Learning Space” explains that divided classroom setting is split in half, has half the desks facing right and the other half facing left. In this way students can see each other and the teacher or presenters can walk in the middle. This is useful for classes that are having debates or other interactive discussions. The teacher can choose to put his or her desk at the back of the classroom because the teacher will be more of a mediator in debate situations. This allows the teacher to sit in the back and allow the students to take more leadership roles. Desks and tables work for this type of classroom setting.


There is desk cluster which is another type of classroom setting. Desk clusters are often seen when students are doing a lot of group work. Simms R.L, & Knezek, G.A. (2002) explains that, the desks are arranged in small groups, quite often four facing one another. The setting looks like little islands around the room. Each group id able to communicate easily with each other and the teacher can move between the desks to guide the students. Some teachers might opt to have the desk clusters as a permanent arrangement or they mi9ght only use it when the students are working on group projects.

This works well in special needs classrooms because the children find it less intimidating and communicate easily with each other. Tables work well for this setup but desks are common because many students can turn their desks to from the clysters, conceptually, individuals with disabilities according to act IDEA, as sighted in (Turnbull and Turnbull 1999) visual impairment is define as impairment in vision that adversely affects a child’s educational performance despites its correction which therefore affects learning.

In the educational field visual impairment is defines as an inability to use vision as an avenue for learning. From the definition of visual impairment, it shows that it broad series of eye defect such ad blindness,myopia, pypermetropia and astigmatism. Based on IDEA of Turnbull and Turnbull (1999), visual impairment is classified into two main categories educational classification and anatomical classification. The educational classification deals with terms like, low vision, functionally blind and totally blind. While the anatomical classification deals with terms like. Myopia, hypermetropia, cataract and astigmatism.


Based on the theoretical aspect of Carmen Willings (1982), an organized classroom setting reduces visual clutter, promotes independence in walking in the classroom, and helps the visual impaired student independently and clean up materials by themselves in the classroom. This makes the visually impaired student to feel comfortable in class and helps to facilitate their learning which will improve their academic performance. The design of the classroom can also be viewed as a tool to modify behaviors. Carmen Willings (1982) continue to explain that, when arranging the classroom for visually impaired student, include features that can’t be moved to indicate where outlets and computer/phone modems are located if any. This will generally dictate where teacher’s desk and any other electrical equipment will be located.


In the past when arranging a classroom for a child with visual impairment, some consideration is taken note of. There organizer or classroom teacher rearrange the classroom for the purpose of improving the classroom to be conducive for the visually impaired student. The classroom teacher should avoid changing the classroom arrangement too frequently and keep in mind that when you do rearrange the environment, you will need to orient the student to the room.


Historically, during the 1950s and 1960s, the prevailing theory of education for visually impaired students was that, with certain basic skills and adequate support of the regular teacher in the adaptation of curriculum, blind and visually impaired students could meet the same academic standards expected of sighted students. The basic skills that required direct intervention by the specialist teacher were Braille reading, use of the braillewriter and the slate and stylus, and typing. To remove visually impaired student from the regular class for other instruction was not considered to be in their best long-term interest.


Based on this belief, highly integrated programs were favored as superior systems for delivering services to visually impaired student. The reasoning was that students who spent most of the school day in the regular classroom setting would be better able to live and work as adults within the sighted world, having shared the common academic experience of public school education and the social benefit of interaction seeing peers.


Traditional beliefs, attitude and customs held by different ethnic groups in Cameroon have for a long time affected the education of persons with special needs. In most part of the country, were and are still denial the basic right especially the right to go the school, in spite of the movement towards universal access of schooling for all children like the Salamanca Conference on special needs Education of 1994, the Jomtien conference of 1990 on the right for all.


Today, most of our schools admit students with special needs with visual impairment and they remain the most venerable of tour students who suffered from many forms of disorganized classroom like poor lightening in class, wrong board position, and poor seat arrangement.


In the past, (1975) the welfare of persons with visual impairment in Cameroon was the responsibility of a unit in the ministry of health. This was because visual impairment perceives as a diseases and sometime seen as started in an informal setting where the parents of these children tried to teach their children basic life skills and to integrate them with normal children.


With the advent of modernization and greater awareness, the ministry of Social. Affair was created in 1975. A department of National Solidarity was established to oversee the wellbeing of persons with visual impairment. It works in collaboration with the Ministry of Education which has put some efforts.




1.2 Statement Of The Problem


Despite all the international mechanism to protect and encourage the education of persons with special needs, many obstacles still exist that obstruct such access. It has been examining that persons with visual impairment have not been performing greatly in their academic task. For these persons who are visually impaired to activity participate in class, they need the classroom to be well arrogant, use tape recorders, special teachers (who can read Braille) good light, well arrange desk and well situated board position. In most classrooms these facilities are absent thereby making learning difficult for the visually impaired person in a classroom setting.




1.3 Objectives Of The Study


This study is carried out to meet with the following objectives and they include both main and specific objectives.


1.3.1 Main Objective


The main objective of this study is to find out the effect of classroom setting on the academic performance of visually impaired students in some selected schools in the Buea Municipality.


1.3.2 Specific Objective


The specific objectives of this study are as follows:


To examine the impact of a divided classroom setting on the performance of visually impaired students.

To find out the impact of desk cluster classroom setting on the academic performance of visually impaired students.

Investigating the role of traditional classroom setting on the academic performance of visually impaired students

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