Classroom Organization In Schools For Hearing Impaired Children In Pakistan

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The availability and capability of professionals and classroom organization and environment plays an important role in providing the quality education to the special children. The National Policy for Persons with disability 2002 emphasizes on quality education for hearing impaired children. The policy also focussed on teacher taring programmes and hence qualified teachers were produced with degree in special education. These specialist teachers can only deliver effectively when classroom organisation is improved.

A team of professional is involved from the day one of the special child starting from screening, diagnostics, early educational and rehabilitation efforts, and assessment for classroom placement and educating. The professional who are involved through out the education process include special educators, Speech therapists, psychologist, social case worker, occupational therapist, doctors, physiotherapists etc.

A special educator or a class teacher in general is a role model for a child whose intellectual capabilities are in the process of development. He or she must have a command on the subject and also understands the psychology and special needs of the students. The teacher must display certain fundamental traits as her or his actions make long lasting impact on the future life of an individual. The basic characteristics which a teacher must posses may include but are not limited to, Interest in the field, Commitment, Professional skill and capability, Discipline etc. However, the teachers and professional can deliver least when proper class room environment is not available.. The special educational needs are also essential tool for effective teaching.

Methodology:

The questions were also prepared to investigate about classroom setting and the physical environment, which effects the teaching of a special child. This included special seating arrangements for H. I children, floor and building issues. The questions were asked to the teachers, other professional, parents of special children, the students in the schools and the adult special persons who have passed through the education system in Pakistan.

Academic qualification of teachers

Academic Qualification

Teachers'%

12th Class or Less

10

Graduate

30

Post Graduate

60

Table: 1

The majority of special teachers (60 + 30 = 90%) have a bachelor degree or post graduate degree in various fields like social work, sociology, special education, political science, education, psychology, Islamiat, Urdu, etc. The reason is that when the special education system started taking off at very high speed in eighties the teachers training programmes at master level were not available in Pakistan. Hence the teachers with degrees in other fields were appointed in special schools. When Directorate General of Special Education was formed in 1983 the staff was transferred from social welfare to special education to teach in special schools. The staff was given training to teach special children at National Institute of Special Education also newly formed at that time.

Professional qualification of teachers

Qualification in special education

Teachers' %

One year special education Diploma

2

Masters in Special Education

40

Graduation or above in other fields

58

Table: 2

42 % of the total number of teachers in special schools possess Master of special Education degree. The 58 % of the teachers are still from other field as discussed above. These teachers have taken short courses in the field of special education. 2 % of the teachers were found possessing diploma in special education. This is one-year diploma in special education warded by Allama Iqbal Open University at Islamabad. Therefore the vast majority of special teachers do not possess degree in special education. The situation needs attention of the government.

Training in special education

Training in Special Education

Teachers' %

Yes

95

No

5

Table: 3

Vast the majority of the teachers have attended short courses arranged by the schools and other training organisation in government and non-government sector.

Reasons for choosing the profession

Reason for choosing profession

Teachers' %

Professional interest

15

Special child in the family

03

Others

82

Table: 4

The response to this question is an eye opener. The fundamental requirement for a teacher or any other profession is interest. The 15% of the teachers said that they chose the teaching of special children due to their personal interest in the field of special education. 3% of the teachers are in the field because there was a special child in the family or friends. The 82 % of the teachers have come in this field without any special interest to work with hearing impaired children. However, they work with dedication once entered in this field .

Salary of special educators

Monthly income

Teachers' %

6000 or less

50

More then 6000 & less than 10000

40

More then 10000

10

Table: 5

The monthly salaries of the 50 % of the teachers are in the range of Rs.6000/= or less. During the survey and interviews with teachers and administrators of the schools it was found that some the teachers with a Master degree in special education or in related field and specialized training fall in this group. The medical facilities are generally not provided in schools however, transport is usually provided.

The teachers employed in the government sector are getting higher salaries. The large gap in the income of teachers with equal qualification is a point of dissatisfaction in the teachers who are mostly employed in NGO sector. The low income is the major cause of discontentment and lack of interest among the qualified teachers, specially the professionals with higher qualifications in special education and related fields.

Number of students in Class

Students in Class

Teachers' Response %

Parents' Response %

Special Persons'

Response %

Less than 10

07

05

03

Between 10- 15

85

91

87

More than 15

08

04

10

Table: 6

85 % of the teachers, 91% of the parent and 87% of the special students and ex-students opined that that there were between ten to fifteen students in the class. There are cases where more than 15 students are also accommodated in one classroom.

Student Teacher Ratio

Hearing impaired children

School

S: T

Federal Government School

10 : 1

Provincial Government Schools

11 : 1

NGOs Schools

9 : 1

Table: 7

The high Students-Teacher ratio is a burden on the teaching staff and thus the teachers are unable to pay individual attention to the students in the class. The schools run by NGOs have a better student's teacher ratio than the schools run by government sector. This high student-Teacher ratio also needs attention of Government.

Proficiency of teachers in Pakistan Sign Language

Teachers' Proficiency in Pakistan Sign Language

Teachers' Response %

Special Persons' Response %

Parents' Response %

Very well

63

07

05

Fairly well

33

33

35

With difficulty

04

60

60

Table: 8

The 63 % teachers of the hearing impaired children claim that they are very well in teaching through Pakistan Sign language in the class. However the hearing impaired persons do not agree and they in response to same question state that only 07 % of the teachers are able to teach subjects with command through Pakistan Sign Language. The parents of hearing impaired children also have the same opinion.

Parents' satisfaction with Special Teachers' performance

Characteristics

Fully satisfied

%

Partially satisfied %

Not satisfied

%

Teaching skills

14

45

41

Interest in teaching

9

42

49

Devotion

12

39

49

Behaviour

43

51

06

Command & Proficiency

in subject

19

44

37

Table: 9

The 45% of the parents state that they are partially satisfied with the teaching skills of the teachers, where as 41% of the parents report that they are not satisfied with the teaching skills of the teachers. Only 14% of the parents stated full satisfaction with the teaching skills of the teachers. The 49% of the parents report that the teachers do not take interest in teaching and 42% show partial satisfaction over teaching abilities of the teachers in special schools. The very small percentage of the parents (9%) expresses their full satisfaction and stated that the teachers take interest in teaching. Investigating for the devotion of teachers towards profession the 49% of the respondents express dissatisfaction and 39% reported partial satisfaction. The 12% of the parents state that the teachers are devoted to their profession. Discussing about the behaviour of the teachers the 43% of the parents show full satisfaction whereas 51% of the respondents report partial satisfaction. As far as command and proficiency in subject is concerned only 19% of the parents express full satisfaction. The 37 % of the parents are not satisfied with the command of the teachers over the subject.

Students'/ Special Persons' Satisfaction with special teachers' performance

Characteristics

Fully satisfied

Partially Satisfied

Not satisfied

Teaching skills

11

45

44

Interest in teaching

07

38

55

Devotion

05

20

75

Behaviour

36

40

24

Command & Proficiency in subject

17

34

49

Table: 10

The 44% of the respondents state their dissatisfaction over the teaching skills of the teachers. The 45% express partial satisfaction and 11% of the special persons and students report full satisfaction for the teaching skills of their teachers. When the respondents were asked about the interest in teaching characteristic the 55% of students/special persons state that the teachers did not take interest in teaching. Only 7% of the students/ special persons reported the full satisfaction and stated that their teachers took interest in teaching. The students and special persons expressed great dissatisfaction for the devotion of the teachers. Only 5% of the respondents reported full satisfaction for the devotion of the teachers, whereas 75% of the respondents expressed great dissatisfaction over the devotion of teachers. As far as behaviour of the teachers is concerned the 36% of the respondents expressed full satisfaction while 40% report partial satisfaction. The 24% of the students stated their dissatisfaction over the behaviour of the teachers. While taking views about the command over subjects the 49% of the respondents informed that they were not satisfied with the teachers' proficiency in subjects. The 17% of the special persons and students are however satisfied fully with the teachers' command and proficiency in subjects.

Use of hearing aids in classroom

Students' Percentage wearing Hearing Aids in classroom

Teachers' Response %

Less than 10%

53

Between 10% & 30 %

27

Between 31% & 60 %

15

More than 61 %

05

Table: 11

53% of the teachers said that less than 10% of the children wear hearing aid in the classroom in spite of the repeated instructions. Only 5% of the teachers said that more than 61% of the children wear hearing aids in their classrooms. These are the schools, which help, in free provision of hearing aids through donations. The hearing aids are very expensive and therefore this is also one of the reason for not wearing hearing aids. The difficulties in timely replacement of moulds with growing age is also one of the reasons for not wearing hearing aids.

Mixing of students with different degree of hearing loss in one classroom

Mixing of students with different degree of hearing loss in one classroom

Teachers' Response %

In all classes

65

In some classes

25

Not mixed

10

Table: 12

The 65% of the teachers opined that the students of with different degree of hearing loss are accommodated in one classroom due to either shortage of teachers or shortage of classrooms. The 25% of the teachers reported that the students are mixed in some classrooms only due to shortage of teacher sand classrooms in some schools. The 10 % of the teachers stated that in their schools the students with different degree of hearing loss are taught is separate classrooms. The researcher while visiting special schools for the hearing impaired also observed that in many schools the students with different degree of hearing loss were being taught in the same classroom at the same time.

Facility of Group Hearing aid in classrooms

Facility of Group Hearing Aid in Classrooms

Teachers' Response

%

In all class rooms

0

In some class rooms

23

No facility

77

Table: 13

The 77% of the teachers stated that there was no facility of group hearing aids in classroom in their schools. The 23 % of the teachers reported that the group hearing aid facility were available in their school in some of the classrooms. During observation visits to schools it was noticed that although the group hearing aid facility was available in some of the classroom in schools however it could not be utilised due to mixing of students with different degree of hearing loss in one classroom, who had different loss at different frequency. Usually the students do not know how to adjust the frequency control of hearing aids. Hence the use of group hearing aid system in the schools is not effective for the education of hearing impaired children.

Seating arrangement for Hearing Impaired in classroom

Seating Arrangements

in semicircle

Teachers' Response %

In all classrooms

18

In some classrooms

77

In none of classrooms

5

Table: 14

The 77% of the teachers report that there are usually some classrooms with semicircle seating arrangements so that the students are equidistant from the teacher. However 18% of the teachers stated that all the classrooms in their school had the seating arrangements in semicircular shape to help students in lip reading and facial expressions. The 5% of the teachers report that there is no special arrangement for hearing impaired children in classrooms in their school.

Conclusion

Most of teachers have qualifications equivalent to undergraduate or graduate.

Teachers are generally low paid .

Student - teacher ratio is high, hence individual attention is very difficult, which is very important in case of special children.

Parents of children is not satisfied with education given to their H. I children.

The student do not use hearing aids in classroom on regular basis. This affects their learning process.

In most of the schools the students with different degree of hearing loss are taught in one classroom with out any adequate listening mechanism for each student.

The classroom seating arrangements are designed as recommended for hearing impaired student.

Recommendation

Teacher should be given salary in line with the teachers in mainstream school.

Students - teacher should be improved by employing more teachers.

Teachers in special schools must have command in Pakistan sign language, even if total communication approach is used.

Workshops should be conducted to update knowledge and learn new research in the field.

Government should subsidize hearing aids for hearing impaired students..

Parent involvement in schools should be increased to gain their confidence and satisfaction

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