Inclusion or Exclusion? Critical Needs of Hearing Impaired Learners during an English Reading Comprehension Lesson

  • Agness Chimangeni Chaliwa Hara


Drawing on the social inclusion theoretical model, this study examines critical needs of hearing impaired learners during an English reading comprehension lesson. Some of the challenges that hearing impaired learners experience arise due to their exclusion from activities, participation and access. The study utilised qualitative approaches through semi-structured interviews. A total of twenty-six participants from three secondary schools located in the northern region of Malawi participated in this study as follows: seven regular teachers, two specialist teachers, two resource persons and fifteen hearing impaired learners. The results reveal that most hearing impaired learners do not manage to attain all reading comprehension objectives. Although teachers use a combination of strategies during a reading comprehension lesson, they do not utilise strategies that promote higher-order cognitive thinking skills. Finally, the results reveal that hearing impaired learners encounter several challenges some of which may be avoided if teachers embrace inclusive practices. The results have implications for stakeholders, teachers and researchers as follows: there is a need to improve the inclusive system of education by providing in-service training for teachers and employing competent specialist teachers and resource persons to facilitate the learning of hearing impaired learners. There is also a need to improve the learning and teaching facilities for inclusive schools as teachers and learners bemoan lack of teaching and learning materials suitable for hearing impaired learners. Teachers would be able to overcome some of the barriers to participation and learning which arise due to inadequate teaching and learning resources. Further research