Deaf Students And Performance In General Science Education Essay

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The study aimed to find out the relationship between study habits of deaf students and their performance in the subject of general science at matriculation level (class X). Two hundred and for/v (240) students (forty from each school.) were randomly selected from six segregated special schools located in the cosmopolitan city of Karachi. Study habits were measured by an instrument called 'Study Habits Inventory'. The students' performance in general science was measured by the average marks in the subject examinations of the students/or three sessions (2005/06, 2006/07 and 200 7/08). 7'he Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was used to analyze the data. The result of the hypothesis testing show that the positive correlation between these two variables which is not significant at .05 level of significance. This means that there is a tendency for students who perform well in general science to have good study habits but this tendency is not significant.

Introduction

Effective study habits are key to academic success. Habits are defined by Stephen Covey as 'the intersection between knowledge, skill and desire." There have been numerous published tips students can use as a guide for good study habits. Good study habits are defined as, according to the Manhattan College Counseling Center, establishing routine times to study for each class, having a place to study, studying during the daytime rather than night-time, schedulingbreaks after every hour of study, making use of study resources, working in groups, studying the hardest subject first, and being good to yourself'.

Study habits are important ingredients in the life of a successful student. It is easy for a student to know about these habits but the difficulty lies in his/her being to put the habits into practice. Since the mastering of good study habits takes some time, it is therefore, necessary for a student to exercise some patience fur these habits to become a part of him. Education researchers such as Gordon Alley and Donald Deshler (l979), have found that in order for students to achieve in the classroom, they must use effective strategies for learning and retaining information.

Schools as a social institution established for the purpose of achieving teaching and learning. For this purpose to be achieved; there must be effective studying on the part of the students. Studying is not as easy and brief as some people may assume. Every successful student should aim at studying in a deliberate manner. Deliberate studying must be planned; the goals should be clearly defined. It demands application on the part of the student and finally, the student must have the incentive to study or the will to succeed. in general, each of the students has his/her own techniques of studying. But the question is how effective are these typical study techniques? Every student who tries to answer this question will change, modify or maintain his/her study habits.

Students' use of appropriate study habits, including note taking and studying notes and texts, contribute to retention at both the high school and college levels (Stanley, Slate, & Jones, 1999). Despite the acknowledgment that positive study behaviors are important to student success, our knowledge of students' actual study behaviors is rather limited. Some studies have suggested that students may use a wide variety of reviewing techniques (Allgood, Risko, Alvarez, & Fairbanks, 2000)', but these have rarely been documented (Wood et al., 1 999)

Not surprisingly, students with special educational needs have difficulty developing these skills. They often use a limited range of strategies, are inflexible in their approach to studying, and fuil to make the connection between using effective study skills and academic achievement. Students with effective study skills are more likely to feel competent and confident about their ability to learn. This leads to better attitudes about schoolwork.

When considering special populations of students, such as students who are deaf and hard of hearing, the literature on study skills and study behaviors shrinks even further. The dearth of research in this area was noted by Al-Hilawani (l999) and Richardson, MacLeod-Gallinger, McKee, & Long (2OOO). These two studies used different populations of students who are deaf, but had similar results. Al-Hilawani compared third graders who are deaf and hard of hearing who were mainstreamed with hearing peers. In contrast, Richardson et al, compared college students who are deaf and hard of hearing in mainstreamed classes with hearing peers. In both studies, the students who are deaf had comparable study behaviors to those of their hearing peers. Similarly, both studies employed a survey design that precluded the researchers from obtaining in-depth knowledge of participants' skills, and in particular, their use of notes as a study text. These studies are similar to several others that attempt to survey the study habits of normal hearing students (e.g. I3iggs, 1985; I/ntwistle & Ramsdcn, 1983; Jones, Slate, & Marini, 1995; Schrneck, Rihich, & Ramanaiah, l977).

Deaf students obviously are not all alike. They differ from each other just as any two hearing students. Deaf students without exception share one thing in common. They have a communication handicap. Yet even in communication, deaf studentsdiffer greatly. Some lip-read better than others; some read better than others; indeed, some hear better than others. By the same token, some speak, write, or express themselves in manual communication better than others.

It would seem reasonable to assume that the provision of some special services, such as available in many instances to students with other types of disabilities, would make it possible for greater numbers of deaf students to achieve similar success in education. According to Lane (2002)°, "Deaf people can come to be understood not as a disability group but as the possessors and protectors of a great cultural heritage, a beautiful language, numerous art forms and an eloquent history."

Research Question and hypothesis

Since the interest in general science among secondary school deaf students seems to be pervasive, teachers would be concerned with how this interest can be used to improve performance in the subject. Perhaps it would be pertinent to ask whether or not the study habits of deaf students have any relationship with the resultant performances of these students in general science. This study, therefore, attempts to answer the following question:

"Is there any relationship between study habits of deaf students and their actual performance in general science. In other words, Do deaf students who perform well in general science also have good study habits?"

Related to this question, the hypothesis of the study is stated as, "There will be no significant correlation between the mean scores of deaf students on study habits inventory and actual performance in general science examinations."

1. Ida Ricu School for the Deaf Children

2. DEWA Academy for the deaf Children

3. ABSA School for the deaf

4. Baharia College Special Education Centre

5. J.S. Academy for the Deaf

6. Korangi School for the Deaf

Methodology

Context

This research was carried out in the cosmopolitan city of Karachi. The researcher selected following six segregated special schools of deaf children:

The above six special schools were selected on the basis of their credibility among the special schools in the country in terms of academic standards and discipline.

Participants:

The students of class X were selected from the sampled schools because they were believed to be mature enough to realize their own study habits. The researcher first selected students of class X who were offering general science and who had not spent less than three years in the school. loily students were randomly selected from this population from each school and these were the students that completed the inventory. The disability related characteristics were gathered from the school's record. The scores in general science of these students for the past three years were also collected for this study. Majority of the participants were boys (62%) and have mild hearing loss (53%).

Apparatus:

1he instrument of the study was 'Study habits Inventory (SI II)'. Firstly, the students had required to write their names, sex, age, school, class and date on the questiormaire. The apparatus had some instructions on how the students were to complete it. The SF11 contained thirty questions which corresponded to good or bad study habits. Each of the questions had five corresponding answers scored 1 - 5. In each of the statement, the students had to encircle a number according to their study habits. The numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) represented the following statements:

5 "Almost never"

4 "Less than half of the time"

3 "About half of the time"

2"More than half of the time"

1 "Almost Always"

The past three years results of the student were obtained by collecting the examination register of the schools. The three sessions were: 2005/06, 2006/07, and 2007/08.

Procedure:

Before the administration of the SF11, the researcher was first introduced to the students and his reasons for meeting the students made clear. After this, the questionnaires were distributed to the forty students in each school who were sampled out. The instructions on SI-Il were orally read and explained by the researcher which was interpreted in sign language by an expert of the field. Deafstudents who are unable to survive schooling with spoken communication alone must depend on sign language interpreter. A real sign language interpreter is 5OCOflC who has received extensive training in sign language and it's variant (Mohanty & Mohanty, 2004).° The same procedure was applied of the rest of the items. On the whole, it took the researcher four months to collect and compile the required data.

Scoring and Analysis of Data:

The instrument was scored by summing up the ratings of each student for the thirty items of the questionnaire. The Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was used to find out the significance of the relationship between students' scores on the SRI and their actual performance in general science examinations.

Findings:

The overall result shows a positive correlation (0.06) between the deaf students' scores on Study habits Inventory and general science examinations. This may be interpreted as that there is a tendency for the students who have good study habits to perform well in general science examinations. There is also a tendency for those students who perform badly in general science examinations to have bad study habits. The result of the hypothesis testing is not significant at 0.05. This means that the tendency for the students, who perform well in biology to have good study habits also and vice versa, is not significant in this study (see table-l).

The separate analyses of each six schools are presented in table-2. The results for three schools (DEWA, JS Academy & KSD) showed a negative correlation (-.035, -.136 & -.132) between the SCOS of deaf students in general science examinations and SHI. This means that, those students who perform well in general science examinations have bad study habits while those who perform badly in general science have good study habits. In the remaining three schools, the trend was the same which appeared in overall results.

Discussion

The overall results of this study show positive correlation between study habits of the deaf students and their performance in general science examinations. It means that those students who have good study habits also perform well in general science and vice versa. The result of thehypothesis testing also showed that there is no significant correlation between study habits of deaf students and their performance in general science. Although there is a tendency for students who perform well in general science to also have good study habits; this tendency is not very evident since it is not significant.

When the data were studied carefully, a lot of inconsistencies were observed. Some deaf students with good results in general science were found to have bad study habits, while some with poor results were found to have good study habits.

When the data was analyzed for the individual schools it was also noticed that the result was not consistent in all the special schools. In Ida Rieu, ABSA and Baharia schools there was a positive correlation between these two variables. On the other side; DEWA, J.S. Academy and KSD, there was a negative correlation between students' scores in the SHI and general science examinations. The negative and positive correlations obtained were both insignificant at 0.05.

The results of this study are not expected to agree because the populations from which the samples were selected were very different ones. There might have been some factors that contributed to the inconsistencies of the results of this study despite the fact that some other researchers obtained similar results with different populations.

The responses of the students will depend on their mood at the time they were completing the SHI. The results will also depend on the student's perception of the questionnaire. Some deaf students for one reason or another hurried over the statements of the SHI and thereby ended up in giving wrong information on their habits of studying. There were also some students who were happy to complete the questionnaire and therefore give the right information on their study habits.

Like in other places, dishonesty should be expected in our special schools also. Some deaf students are used to cheating in examinations. Although these students perform quite well, they should not be expected to have good study habits.

Also, the mere fact that the students were required to write their names on the SF1! may cause some of them to complete the questionnaire incorrectly for fear of one thing or another. Thus, when considering the results of this study, the above factors should not be neglected because they are believed to contribute significantly to the inconsistencies obtained.

As essential as studying as a part of students' overall academic life, ineffective study habits can bring about bad results, especially if the students who carry on such practices aren't sure why they are ineffective. This is why students of any level should always know why certain practices are beneficial and others are not. If they know why a particular habit is not a good one, students can improve their study routine.

Perhaps the most ineffective study habit is not studying. How can a student excel in school without studying at all? Of course, some students can absorb information right from class discussions, or they have already developed an interest in that subject to the point that they know it well, hut quite often, tests include questions never discussed in class, and writing assignments explore many aspects of the subject in-depth. Studying always keeps students abreast of the subject, which includes updated information. Of course, if a student has already developed an interest in the class subject. s/he won't need to be prodded to study; such a task has become an everyday privilege conducted, most likely, without conscious effort. Others, however, should be smart enough to know that knowledge doesn't fall out of the sky like rain and land in a person's head; obtaining knowledge and being able to use that knowledge effectively is an ongoing job, just like any type of employment done on a regular basis. This is why students are encouraged not to work while in school, although the reality is that some have to, with no threat or ill-effects to their study routine or the results of such efforts.

Prelingually deaf students and those whose first language is sign language may have considerable difficulty reading and writing in language. Trainedstudy skills tutors can provide specialist language support for deaf students. They can assist by:

checking that the understanding of academic work is not hampered by language difficulties

helping deaf students to develop study skills strategies to read written language and to produce well-constructed essays

advising on language modification, for example in exam questions, to avoid complicated or ambiguous phrasing that could bemisinterpreted

translating language into sign language in the case of information which is lengthy or potentially confusing.

For deaf and hard of hearing students who do not use sign language, access to local basic skills provision would be improved by the provision of more qualified Communication Support Workers (CSWs). There should be more training for tutors in the literacy and numeracy needs and learning styles of deaf learners. Tutors of all basic skills classes should receive training about the learning needs of deaf students as part of their graduate- level initial training course.

Students have to learn to study as best as they can and there is no exception for students with disability. But the best way to study still remains a mystery for many students. Since habits learnt at childhood has a lot of significance in adult-life; it is therefore necessary for parents and teachers to ensure that children have good study habits. The management of special schools should introduce counseling services and ensure that the guidance counselors in special schools are competent ones. The curriculum planners of our special schools should also include "skills of studying" in the curricula. This should also include the detailed skills of studying the basic subjects of the curriculum. Finally, it is suggested that this study should be replicated in later years by other researchers.

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