M.Phil. Eron Lawrence
Title of dissertation:
Educating Teachers of the Deaf: Experiences and Perspectives from Teachers on facilitating academic and social participation in Uganda.
This study was conducted within the framework of special needs teacher education. The purpose of the study is to investigate how experiences and perspectives of teachers of hearing impairment can inform teacher education in preparing teachers to be able to facilitate academic and social participation. The overall aim is to contribute to the improvement in the preparation of teacher for the deaf. This was based on the international trends towards inclusive education that Uganda has adopted allowing for an increasing number of learners with deafness in mainstream schools, special units and schools for the deaf.
The study was qualitatively undertaken, data collected through document analysis, observations of classroom interactions, individual interviews and focus group discussions. Guided by activity systems theory, data yielded four main findings. First, the teacher education curriculum content considered relevant were the same content that teacher trainees considered to be in need of more attention during their teacher education so as to enhance their capacity to facilitate academic and social participation. Secondly, the practical skill-oriented content of the curriculum during teacher education are not being provided in a way that teacher trainees are able to effectively utilize during their practice. There was evidence of lack of knowledge of sign language to enable teacher facilitate learning and provide interpreting services where children with deafness and hearing people are involved. Third, although there are positive indicators of inclusive education among learners, there is resentment among some teachers, arguing that without interpreters, deaf learners fail to benefit academically and compete favorably. Fourthly, the study shows that the teacher education programme is being undertaken in line with the set curricular. However, other factors such as teachers’ experience, practical exposure, content covered and socio-political environment limits its automatic translation to best practices in deaf education.
Overall, the findings and implications identified form the basis for discussing fundamental pedagogical questions in the education of children with hearing impairment generally and deaf education specifically and bring out the relationship between education policy and practice. The study was undertaken at the University of Oslo, Department of Special Needs Education.