Title page for ETD etd-05152010-234840

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Marx, Estelle Maria Magdalena
Email marxe@absamail.co.za
URN etd-05152010-234840
Document Title The ability of adolescents with hearing loss in special schools to access and use academic information
Degree DPhil
Department Communication Pathology
Advisor Name Title
Prof A L Dick Co-Supervisor
Dr M E Soer Supervisor
  • academic information
  • information literacy
  • hearing loss
  • special needs education
  • special school
  • adolescent
  • information literacy programme
Date 2010-04-22
Availability unrestricted
Access and use of academic information by adolescents with hearing loss is important to assure their academic success. Learners with hearing loss experience problems regarding communication, literacy, and information literacy, which has an impact on their ability to access and use various types of academic information sources. This leads to problems in achieving tertiary education and employment in later life. In order for learners to develop their abilities and skills to access and use academic information, they need to learn to work independently, be familiar with all the types of academic information, and utilize the media centre. An urgent need existed to determine the abilities of adolescents with hearing loss to access and use academic information in order to make suggestions for an information literacy programme to be implemented for learners with hearing loss. The suggestions could be highly relevant for teachers and media teachers.

The research design was a descriptive design comprising of a questionnaire survey followed by an assignment survey. A set of questionnaires was a quantitative tool implemented for systematic and objective gathering of information from a representative sample. The survey assignment employed qualitative methods to investigate characteristics of a group of adolescents with hearing loss with regard to their ability to access and use academic information in the media centre. The questionnaires were distributed to 326 learners with hearing loss, 19 teachers, and 6 media teachers; and the quantitative survey assignment involved 48 learners with hearing loss. The research was done in order to develop an information education programme based upon scientific findings, for use within the planned educational system in South Africa.

The results from the study indicated that the majority of the participants always found academic information difficult to access and use, except where information was readily available in the classroom setting. Sub-goal 1 indicated that the majority of the participants always found academic information difficult to access and use except where information was available in schoolbooks. They mainly accessed and used academic information during and after school. There was not much consensus as to the purpose for which they accessed and used academic information. The participants regarded themselves as unsuccessful and relied on role players to help them to understand, find, and access academic material. They also preferred visual (graphical) information above printed information. The participants indicated they found OBE material difficult to access and use. It became clear that they did not visit the media centre regularly and did not have adequate computer and Internet facilities.

Sub-goal 2 indicated that the teachers displayed the perception that the adolescents experienced problems when accessing and using academic information. They indicated that the adolescents occasionally accessed and used information, but needed them as role players to assist them. The teachers and media teachers also suggested lack of motivation, lack of funds, insufficient training, and degree of hearing loss as possible constraining factors. They indicated that hearing loss has an impact on language and communication skills and consequently has an effect on literacy and information literacy skills. They also considered low literacy and information literacy skills and underdeveloped cognitive skills to have an effect on the adolescents’ ability to access and use academic information. This has impact on learners’ ability to access, apply, and analyse information. It is important to note that teachers seemed to be of more assistance to learners than media teachers and research is needed to determine the reasons for this. The teachers indicated that sign language influenced the subjects’ ability to access information as the subjects seem to think in pictures rather than using words. This also calls for further research. Sub-goal 3 indicated that the media teachers’ perception was similar to that of the teachers. They indicated that the subjects found English as a second language difficult to understand.

Sub-goal 4 indicated that the subjects were not able to complete the assignment in the media center with ease. The subjects also had poor knowledge of catalogue use and no knowledge of the Dewey classification scheme which is used to locate books on the shelves.

These findings were utilized to propose an information literacy programme at school media centres, to be implemented in the context of content-based courses and assignments. It is clear that adolescents with hearing loss are a heterogeneous group and due to the differences in the degree and type of hearing loss, they have varying frames of reference, language bases, and cognitive skills. Adolescents who have a language delay due to hearing loss, experience problems with access to formal as well as informal education.

© 2009 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Marx, EMM 2009, The ability of adolescents with hearing loss in special schools to access and use academic information, DPhil thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05152010-234840/ >


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