The purpose of the study was to establish the impact of teaching methods on academic performance of learners with hearing impairment in Mathematics in Igembe District, Meru County, Kenya. The study was based on Burhus Fredric Skinner‟s theory of motivation in learning. The argument here was that learner‟s motivation to undertake a task depends on expected rewards that is, achievements in accomplishment of task. This study will adopt a descriptive survey design which will allow the researcher to gather, summarize, present and interpret the information /data for the purpose of clarification. The location of the study was Igembe District of Meru County, Kenya. The target population of this study was Head teachers, Teachers teaching mathematics to hearing impaired learners and Quality assurance and standard officers in Igembe District. A sample of 53% of accessible population was purposively sampled for this study. The researcher used three (3) types of research instruments to collect data, these are, questionnaires, interview guides, and observation checklists. The research instruments were constructed based on the objectives of the study. The researcher applied test-retest method during the piloting stage to establish reliability. This was carried out in one special unit of Tigania District which will be purposively sampled to ensure validity of the research instruments. They were developed with consultation of fellow post graduate students and my supervisors. The data gathered from the field was sorted out, coded and analyzed in form of table, charts, frequencies, percentages and texts. The researcher obtained research permission from national commission for science, technology and innovation through, The Dean, graduate school, Kenyatta University before administering the research instruments in the field. The researcher made preliminary visit to the respondents and discussed the relevance of the intended study. Issues of informed consent and respect of the respondents were also discussed. The study established that the use of varied teaching methods enhances academic performance of learners with hearing impairment in mathematics. The study also found out that total communication and sign language are the main modes of communication used by the teachers while teaching mathematics to learners with hearing impairments. The study also established that effective communication, availability of learning/teaching resources, effective teacher training and student attitude impact on academic performance of mathematics by learners with hearing impairments in special schools and units in Igembe District. The study also found out that interactive teacher – learner teaching/learning such as personalized teaching and interactive learner – learner teaching/learning such as peer tutoring are used by the teachers to alleviate specific mathematic difficulties in learners.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND CONTEXT
1.0 Background of the Study
In this chapter, the research attempted to establish that a problem exists and there is need for a study to be carried out. This chapter was analyzed under the following divisions: background of the study, statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, limitation and delimitation, theoretical framework, conceptual framework and operational definition of terms.
Many countries regard education as a very important tool for social, economic and political development. Education gives knowledge and skills which are necessary in the production of goods and services. Hence development of the country (UNESCO, 2002). According to (UNESCO, 2005); education facilitates acquisition of altitudes, and competencies needed in the labour market and personal development.
Present society is technologically oriented and information rich. Knowledge of mathematics is important and so children need to develop mathematical skills to be effective, contributing and confident member of the technologically oriented society (Govindan & Ramaa, 2014). Mathematics finds its application in the field of science, technology, economics and other arrays of life. But for a common man, knowledge of mathematics helps him understand the functioning of the world around him. The hearing impaired children, just as hearing children, are supposed to learn mathematics in order to live as successful, effective and independent individuals in the society. Knowing mathematics well actually means having mathematical knowledge.
Mathematical knowledge is a combination of information used in counting, calculating, solving routine mathematical problems, or conducting mathematical related findings (Tanridiler et. al, 2015). As such, learning mathematics is not an easy task and difficulties in mathematics prevent the children from enjoying the world of numbers. This difficulty is experienced not only by typically developing children but more by learners with hearing impairment (Govindan & Ramaa, 2014). The difficulties faced by children include symbol imagery or numeral imagery, concept imagery, difficulty in learning multiplication tables and math facts, grasping mathematical relationships, general computations, solving word problems and difficulty with higher mathematics.
Studies show that children with hearing-impairment can learn mathematics just as their hearing peers but at a delayed pace (Traxler, 2000; Tanridiler, 2015). On the other hand studies show that, principle and elements of balanced mathematics instruction (BMI) are important for students with hearing impairment (Stewart & Kluwin, 2001; Nunes & Moreno, 2002; Pagliaro, 2006). Possible ways and means in learning mathematics must be sought at all levels of education. This is because it is core in scientific, technological development and research. Children with hearing impairment need to be encouraged to learn mathematics by offering them the opportunities to do so. Such opportunities include problem based learning (MacMath, Wallace & Chi-2009), encouraging cognition and self-interest in solving problems (Blanco, Barona &Carrasco, 2013), teachers role in learning the subject-mathematics by the students (Shore & McNeil; 2014), improving basic mathematics instructions through technology resources (Murray, Pacuilla and Helsel; 2007), the use of semantics in improving performance in mathematics (Australian
Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), 2014), which directly reflects on linguistic variables.