New Zealand primary school teachers’ knowledge of hearing impairment and deafness
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Aims: This study investigated New Zealand mainstream primary school teachers’ knowledge of hearing impairment and deafness and its influence on children’s learning in the classroom. In addition, the study aimed to identify teachers’ learning needs about hearing impairment and their current sources of information.
Methods: An online survey was developed using the Qualtrics platform of survey software (2017). The development of the survey was based on a questionnaire used in research by Lass et al. (1985). A 10-minute online survey was anonymously completed by 146 New Zealand mainstream primary school teachers.
Results: The survey results suggest that teachers’ knowledge of hearing impairment aetiology, audiology (e.g. what it covers), solutions (e.g. amplification options) and communication (supports) was variable. Higher levels of knowledge were found across the broad area of audiology and solutions. Awareness of Otitis Media was high, however there was a lack of awareness of diseases and illnesses that can cause hearing impairment and deafness. Teachers were aware of some communication strategies that are unhelpful for a hearing impaired person. Information and education on learning support strategies for hearing impaired children with amplification devices (hearing aids and/or implants) was identified as a skill area that teachers would like input on.
Conclusions: Teachers reported that they want knowledge of specific learning support strategies for hearing impaired and deaf children in their classrooms. Teachers would benefit from education on appropriate techniques and strategies for adapting their teaching for a hearing impaired child specific to their classroom environment and teaching style (e.g. ILE with collaborative teaching and/or students as teachers). Audiologists can provide such support. The New Zealand Deaf Education Centres (DECs) are due to implement teacher education modules this year. It is hoped that information gained from this study will be useful to the DEC teacher training programme and that further studies investigate teacher education delivered by audiologists and the professional support network in schools.