READING AND WRITING BRAILLE GRADE 2: CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND EXPERIENCES OF GRADE 4 LEARNERS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS IN NDOLA
Keywords: braille, challenges, reading, writing, visual impairment and contractions
AbstractThis paper presents findings of a study conducted to assess the conceptual understanding and experiences of grade 4 learners with visual impairments in reading and writing braille grade 2. The study was conducted in 2019 at a selected school for learners with visual impairments on the Copper belt province of Zambia, involved ten (10) participants comprising eight (8) learners and two (2) teachers selected purposively. The objectives were to establish learners’ ability to read and write braille grade 2, identify the nature of reading and writing difficulties concerning braille grade 2 and to assess the common reading and writing difficulties among grade 4 learners with visual impairment at the school. Three research instruments were used to generate qualitative data for the study. These were reading and writing assessment activities for learners, Focus Group Discussion Guide for learners and an In-Depth Interview Guide for the teachers. Data were analysed according to themes that emerged from the data but guided by the general research objectives. The findings were that some learners had the ability to read and write braille grade 2 competently while others were struggling. Failure resulted mainly from lack of early intervention, inadequate teaching and learning resources; and inadequate practice of reading and writing braille grade 2. It was recommended to teachers and the school for learners with visual impairments that they should introduce learners with blindness to braille early enough and provide intensive practice in Grade 2 Braille.