Challenges Faced by Students with Visual Impairments When Learning Physics in Regular Secondary Schools

Abstract

The curriculum in regular schools is designed for fully sighted children and is delivered largely through sighted related tasks. The preponderance of visually oriented and visually complex concepts and information in science classrooms poses significant challenges to learning among visually impaired students. Without systematic instructional attention to these challenges science may seem inaccessible to many students with visual impairment, ( Kumar et al 2001).This  study investigated the challenges faced by students  with visual impairment when learning physics in regular secondary schools.  The intention of the study was to make policy makers to be aware of the difficulties that visually impaired students encounter when learning physics in regular secondary schools .The visually impaired students would then be supported so that they can overcome these difficulties. This would promote the national special needs educational policy framework which advocates for inclusive education. The objectives of the study was to identify  problems visually impaired students encounter when learning physics  in form two in regular secondary schools .The targeted population in this study was that of form two physics students with visual impairment. One hundred and forty seven students were selected from regular secondary schools within the study area. A purposive sampling technique was applied to identify the VI students within the study location. The location of the study was Busia County, Siaya County, Vihiga County and Kisumu County. The study was guided by the normalization theory. The argument behind it is that a child with whatever kind of disability can live a normal life if given all kind of support just like any other normal child. The data was collected coded and summarized on the basis of objectives of the study. The data was analyzed using SPSS program and reported using frequency distribution tables and percentages. Chi square was used to compare the proportions observed in each category with what would be expected. Test retest technique was used to test the reliability of the research instruments.  The study found that classrooms in regular schools lacked adequate light hence are not suitable for accommodation of visually impaired learners.  The visually impaired learners were exposed to inappropriate scripts of reading materials and that most of the respondents lacked optical and non-optical devices even though they needed them.  The study also found that the visually impaired students did not receive support services from the vision support teachers nor interventional measures to help them overcome their visual limitations.  The study recommended that Physics teachers adopt an inductive heuristic approach in teaching Physics to visually impaired learners. The study further recommended that teachers’ trainers should include inclusive education in their curriculum and that Ministry of Education should come up with proper guidelines about inclusive education. At least each regular school should have a department of special needs managed by a special needs teacher.  The government through the MOE should also avail funds to regular secondary schools to enable them modify their environments for the purpose of inclusive education.

Keywords: Inclusive Education, Regular Schools, Visual Impairment


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 38-50 (Download PDF)

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