the case of students with visual impairment

Sariat Adelakun
University of Birmingham
(United Kingdom)
[email protected]
[email protected]
Nigeria operates 6-3-3-4 educational system.
The first Six years are spent in Primary school, followed by
3years in Junior secondary school, then 3years in senior
secondary school and the last 4years in University
Basic Science is one of the core subjects for Junior
secondary schools students in Nigeria irrespective of their
disability (NPE,2004)
Visually impaired students are however faced with
challenges in mainstream classrooms because of the visual
demands of the science subjects
 The
aim of this research is to explore the
level of inclusion enjoyed by students with
visual impairment (those who learn with
other sense organs except vision) with
reference to the teaching of Basic science
 It also investigates the strategies of
teaching Basic Science in selected junior
secondary schools in South-Western Nigeria
 Rule
6 of the UN standard rules on the
equalization of opportunities for persons
with disabilities affirms the equal right of
children... with disabilities to education.
This is adopted by the Nigerian
Government to be provided in an
integrated settings. (NPE, 2004)
Science for all, equalising
educational opportunity
There are a lot of challenges facing the idea of including
students with visual impairment in science globally.
This is because science is dominated with visual activities.
Many people consider doing science impossible for
students with impaired vision.
Norman, Caseau and Stefanish (1998) states that people
hold stereotyped views of what students with disabilities can
and cannot do especially students with visual impairment.
However, Science is for all students, disabilities must not be
an obstacle to acquisition of scientific knowledge.
Students will use the knowledge of science throughout their
lives to make good choices, solve problems and participate
in public discussion about issues relating to science. (Lovitt
and Horton, 1994; Do-IT, 2002)
Definition of Visual Impairment
 visual
impairment is a term that describes a
wide continuum of loss in visual function such
as: visual acuity (ability to resolve detail),
accommodation (ability to focus), field of
vision (area which can be seen), colour vision
and adaptability of light. (Douglas and
McLinden (2005 p. 26).
The World Health Organisation
(WHO) classification of visual
Visual acuity
WHO classification
6/6 to 6/18
Normal vision
< 6/18 to ≥ 3/60
(Less than 6/18 but better than or Low vision
equal to 3/60)
< 3/60
Strategies for Teaching
 The
specific needs of the students with
visual impairment demands for novel
teaching techniques that will focus on the
functional senses of the SVI.
 This can be done by using multisensory
approach for teaching Basic Science. i.e
presenting teaching resources in
accessible format by making the learning
resources available through the other
sense organs.
Strategies Used for Teaching
Basic Science
Globally, the list of methods of teaching science is inexhaustible
due to the fact that knowledge is dynamic, some teaching
strategies are general to all subjects and some are specific to some
Recent work on strategies however pointed out that strategies used
for impacting knowledge depends much on teacher’s affective
domain Norman and Caseau. (1994)These refer to teacher’s
emotions, values, motivations and attitudes.
This domain can enhance or dampen student’s interest in a
subject. For instance, teachers whose attitude is negative to a
subject cannot encourage students to learn it.
Caring, understanding, helpful, patient, fair discipline, unbiased
teacher with effective classroom management will apply relevant
strategies to successfully teach science. (Atwood, 1985)
The following strategies are
identified for teaching science
by researchers:
Inquiry based learning (hands-on-science), Problem based
learning, Project based learning, Concept mapping, Excursion,
cooperative learning. (Gardener, 2002)
Other strategies includes: virtual field trips, role play, case
studies, Mysteries, posters, web quests, cyber guides, mini
conferences, plays , predict observe explain (POE), Five Esengage explore explain elaborate evaluate, Vee diagram,
portfolios, oral presentations, collaborative work, creating board
games, concept mapping and future wheels. Other methods
incudes: inquiry activities, verification activities, Models, crafts,
Games, Current events, Role playing, Debates, cooperative
learning groups, Computers, Audio-visual techniques (Lazer
disc, films, slides, Tapes); Research and integration with all
subjects. (Adediran and Oluokun, 2007; Gardener, 1998)
case study research design was used to
find out the teaching strategies used by
the Basic Science teachers in three
purposively selected junior secondary
schools in Nigeria.
 Five Basic Science lessons were observed
in classes where SVI are taught alongside
the sighted students.
 This was followed up with semi-structured
interview with the Basic Science teachers.
 Classroom
observations of Basic Science
 Semi-structured interviews with the Basic
Science teachers
Level of Inclusion practiced in
the case schools
 Globally
Nigeria has a long way to go in
implementing inclusion of Students with
visual impairment as recommended in the
National policy on Education and rule 6 of
the UN standard rules on equalising
educational opportunity for all
irrespective of their disabilities
The result indicated that the students with visual impairment (SVI)
are taught like the sighted
They are often been ignored in the class except in one school
where concrete object was provided by the teacher for the SVI
to explore during a lesson out of the five lessons observed.
The strategies in use are not activity based, that can challenge
and develop inquiry skills which should nurture development of
scientific attitudes.
They are teacher centred, mostly delivered like lectures.
No consideration for opportunity for SVI to access graphics and
other visual materials that dominates Basic Science curriculum
Continuation of discussions
 Out
of the thirty strategies identified 85% are
unknown by the Basic Science teachers
interviewed in the three schools.
 The three teachers interviewed are only aware
of problem based learning, project based
learning, Excursion, cooperative learning,
verification activities and Models.
 Only case school 3 teacher is aware of how
computers can be used to teach Basic Science
despite the fact that the government provided
computers for each school.
SVI Participation in Basic
Science lessons
Case School 1
Leave class after 10
participate in the
absent from Basic
science lesson
SVI Participation in Basic
Science lessons
Case School 2
Leave class after
10 minutes
participate in the
absent from Basic
science lesson
SVI Participation in Basic
Science lessons
Case School 3
Leave class after 10
participate in the
absent from Basic
science lesson
From the findings obtained from the interviews and the classroom
observations, I could infer that:
 The students with visual impairment are taught like the sighted students.
 The teaching strategies of the teacher do not emphasise the functioning
sense organs of the SVI (i.e. tactile and sound)
 I could also infer that the students with visual impairment are not
enjoying the lessons; this is shown in their movement out of the classroom
during the lessons observed.
 The teachers do not make effort to adapt the apparatus or equipment
to enable the students with visual impairment follow the lessons
 From the responses of the teachers they have wrong understanding of
what the students with visual impairment can and cannot do.
 Globally, Nigeria still has a long way to go, the methods in use are not
challenging enough for the students.
Recommendations were made to Nigerian Government
(Federal Ministry of Education), Universal Basic Education
Commission (UBE) and proprietors of private schools, to
 Organise in-service training for the basic science teachers
on new strategies of teaching Basic Science especially to
the SVI.
 Suggestions were also proffered to the teacher training
institutions to incorporate new strategies of teaching Basic
Science to SVI in the general education curriculum to
make their graduands relevant after graduation.
 Schools should organise training for their teachers on
specific duties expected from them when employed to
enable full inclusion of the SVI in Basic Science as
enshrined in the Nigeria National Policy on Education
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