School factors influencing inclusion of Deaf-Blind learners in regular schools - A case study of Kilimani primary school, Nairobi county- Kenya
This study aimed at establishing the school factors influencing the inclusion of deaf-blind learners through a case study of Kilimani Primary School, Nairobi County. The study specifically sought to establish the teachers’ and regular learners’ attitudes towards deaf-blind learners, suitability of school physical environment in support of inclusion of deaf-blind learners, and teachers’ professional qualifications to support deaf-blind learners. The study used a case study design where both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Questionnaires, interview schedule and lesson observation guide were used to collect data from the headtecher, teachers, regular learners and the school physical facilities. The target population for the study consisted of the headteacher, all the 20 teachers who teach in the class where the deaf-blind learners are included were purposively sampled and 250 regular learners. In addition, seven teachers teaching in the special unit were also purposively sampled. The findings indicate that majority of teachers, (81%) had positive attitudes as shown by their appreciation of inclusion of deaf-blind learners in the regular classroom. On whether regular learners are friendly to deaf-blind learners, the findings showed that most of the regular learners, 88 percent, were in agreement that they were friendly to deaf-blind learners, which is an indication of positive attitude. On whether teachers are willing to teach deaf-blind learners, the findings show that 90 percent of the teachers were willing to teach deaf-blind learners in the inclusive setting, however, 89 percent of the teachers indicated that they required specialized training to enable them to implement inclusion of deaf-blind learners. On teachers’ use of varied teaching/learning strategies to cater for deaf-blind learners, 88 percent of the teachers indicated that they do not vary their teaching/learning strategies. Teachers should use varied teaching/learning strategies when teaching deaf-blind learners because their disabilities are not the same. Majority of the teachers (85%) suggest that there is need to adapt the curriculum to cater for the deaf-blind learners in an inclusive setting and 84 percent of the teachers indicate that the school has no enough teaching/learning resources to cater for deaf-blind learners hence hindering inclusion. The researcher also found that 89 percent of the regular learners support deaf-blind learners and that 84 percent indicate that they interact freely with deaf-blind learners, hence assign of acceptance and support to inclusion. 89 percent of the regular learners indicated that they assist deaf-blind learners while 86 percent indicate that deaf-blind learners take part in co-curriculum activities. The study therefore concluded that there exists favourable attitude towards deafblind learners among teachers and regular learners despite a small percentage however still have a negative attitude. It is also evident that teachers lack necessary skills to implement inclusion of deaf-blind learners. The research also xv found out that 98 percent the school physical environment does not support inclusion of deaf-blind learners. The study recommended further studies to be done on the other disabilities and the Ministry of Education to urgently organize for in-service courses in every county to equip teachers with skills of teaching deaf-blind learners in an inclusive setting. The study also recommended that the Ministry of Education should give study leave with pay to all practicing teachers who want to study special education in all the levels as an incentive to encourage more teachers to join special education.