New Zealand early childhood education teachers’ knowledge and experience of supporting hard of hearing or deaf children. (2022)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Aims: This study examined New Zealand early childhood education (ECE) teachers’ knowledge and experience of supporting hard of hearing or deaf children as well their perspectives about the challenges and abilities of these children. An additional aim was to identify the learning needs of the ECE educators regarding hearing loss and the current sources they rely on for information.
Methods: An anonymous online survey was created using the Qualtrics platform (2017) and circulated to early childhood education centres, preschools, and kindergartens throughout New Zealand. The survey included a range of multi-choice, select from list, likert scale and open-ended response questions that sought to provide insights into areas of knowledge and perceptions of participants. It was estimated to take around 15 minutes to complete. Results: The responses from 99 completed surveys were analysed. The results suggest variable levels of knowledge among participants. For example, ECE teachers had good levels of awareness about otitis media but limited knowledge about other aetiologies of hearing loss and deafness. The participants appeared knowledgeable about effective communication strategies (e.g., physical positioning and proximity) but also identified this as an area for further learning along with understanding the impact of hearing loss on learning and development. Challenges for hard-of-hearing children identified were feelings of isolation and difficulty communicating.
Conclusion: This study emphasized the importance of available and accessible information and training for ECE teachers in New Zealand. Participants identified a need for support around developing teaching and learning strategies known to be effective for hard-of-hearing and deaf children in their ECE settings. Provided with effective training opportunities, ECE teachers will be well positioned to provide the essential assistance that many hard-of-hearing children need in order to learn and develop in ways that ensure their outcomes are comparable to that of their hearing counterparts.
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