The study was aimed at investigating the effect of teaching and learning for undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised undergraduate persons with disabilities of selected universities in Rivers State. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that there is a significant effect of teaching and learning on undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities andthat there are barriers to effective teaching and learning of students with disabilities in tertiary institutions. It was therefore concluded from the findings that the learners with disabilities do not have good experience learning with their peers without disabilities in universities to a great extent. It was recommended that there should be federal support for the development of statewide programs in providing facilities, instructional materials, technology-related assistance to people with disabilities.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Tertiary education institutions also typically provide a range of learning supports for students in general; that is, structures and practices designed to enable the participation of most students most of the time. Examples include study skills assistance and library, technical and language skills support. In this report, these are termed institution-level learning supports. Globally, three forms of inclusion for persons with disabilities exist for example, the right to education, the right to employment opportunities in their social order, and the right to polities/administrative positions. All students may make use of institution-level learning supports, whereas students may request individualised reasonable adjustments on the grounds of a disability or ongoing health condition. This includes permanent and temporary physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health issues and medical conditions.
The definitions of disability vary (Griffin & Beddie 2011). A useful framework by which to consider reasonable adjustments is that of the World Health Organization (2011). It suggests three foci for understanding disability: impairments (of body structure or function); activity limitations (in executing specific actions or tasks); and participation restrictions (in opportunity for involvement). Therefore, while the term ‘disability’ is often used to describe impairments (physical, sensory and so on), it is important to recognise that disability also arises from barriers to participation, given that it is these barriers that reasonable adjustments are intended to overcome. This report uses the term students with disabilities to be inclusive of disability understood in both ways.Disability refers to a range of conditions that may stand in the way of a child’s ability to perform his/her day-to-day activities. Such conditions may include but not limited to problems with muscles, such as muscular dystrophy; problems involving the central nervous system, like the cerebral palsy; skeletal problems, like spinal bifida or missing limbs; and other health problems, such as cystic fibrosis and heart disorders.Disability can significantly disrupt educational attainment, negatively impacting on employment prospects, career development and lifetime earnings (Catroppa et al. 2018; Mealings, Douglas & Olver 2012; Polidano & Mavromaras 2010; Waghorn et al. 2011). There are many barriers to successful re-engagement with education for students with disabilities.Students with different types of disabilities need special methods of teaching which can in some cases also help the students without disabilities to better understand some particular topics.
A major challenge for the Nigerian education system lies on possessing the ability to provide high quality curriculum (involving technology, content and effective curriculum, instruction and assessment procedures) for students in early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education levels. Unlike Nigeria, developed nations like the United States, Britain, Germany and France have utilized technology to aid learning in the public schools system, and have achieved great success in the process. Quality teaching and learning backed by modern educational technology tools and resources would facilitate in the graduation of highly skilled individuals whose contributions would assist in the quest for a technologically developed Nigeria. Furthermore, the provision of effective teaching and learning for undergraduate persons with disabilities in Nigerian tertiary and higher education system would enhance competitive global learning and development. Such learning could be accessed through various media, like the multimedia electronic technology, classroom devices, the web and Internet, computer applications and online assessment and research resources for all students and teachers, including assistive devices for exceptional students. These are among the learning and disability challenges which Nigerian education stakeholders face in the 21st Century. According to Omotayo (2017), the Nigerian university system enjoyed general support from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the 70s, which were years of oil boom. Nigeria experienced a sharp decline in oil revenue in the 1980s, as a result of the world oil glut and poor internal management of resources. Since all the federal universities depended heavily on the government for their funds, the economic downturn took its toll on these institutions. Omotayo further reported that the effect was so bad that the basic needs for teaching undergraduate persons with disabilities could not be met and the universities soon became a shadow of their past. Most institutions of higher learning in Nigeria lack the much needed modern, sophisticated, computerized equipment and technological tools for teacher training and students as well.
Furthermore, most Nigerian Universities lack teachers who are grounded in special education pedagogy thus making them unfit to pass on knowledge and enhance learning effectively. Under such condition, efforts of the disabled to become the best educationally is often met with very strong challenges due to lack of resources necessary for effective teaching and learning and physical structures that hinders their full integration into the inclusive school policy. These observations provoke questioning: What are the factors that functions to facilitate the challenges of effective teaching and learning in Nigerian Universities? To what extent have these factors affected the educational performance of people living with disabilities? This study is persuaded by these observations.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The special education system has given persons with disabilities much greater access to education, established an infrastructure for educating them, helped with the earlier identification of disabilities, and promoted greater inclusion of these students alongside their non-disabled peers. Despite these advances, many problems remain, including the over- and underidentification of certain subgroups of students, delays in identifying and serving students, and bureaucratic, regulatory, and financial barriers that complicate the program for everyone involved. More important, students with disabilities still lag behind their non-disabled peers in educational achievements, are often held to lower expectations, are less likely to take the full academic curriculum and are more likely to drop out of school. Only limited evidence is available on the effectiveness of specific special education services or on how to improve student achievement for this important subgroup of students through teaching and learning. Improving the system with effective teaching and learning will require better ways of understanding and measuring both ends of the special education continuum, namely, what services special education students need and receive, and what academic outcomes these students achieve. Most interest in investigating the learning needs of disabled students in universities and the way they can be supported comes from staff in the disability advisory services and sometimes staff in learning and teaching centres. The implication is that all staff, academic and support, have a responsibility for providing a learning environment in which disabled students are not disadvantaged. There is need to determine the effects of teaching and learning for undergraduate students with disabilities in universities in terms of availability of teaching/learning materials and equipment and the experience of the learners.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the effect of teaching and learning for undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities. Other specific objectives are as follows;
- To examine how the learners with disabilities experienced learning with their peers without disabilities in universities.
- To examine the barriers to effective teaching and learning ofstudentswith disabilities in tertiary institutions.
- To examine students with disabilities experience participation in the learning process.
- To examine the effect of teaching and learning on undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities.
- To examine the undergraduate disabled students’ experience of teaching, learning and assessment.
- To recommend ways of improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- How do learners with disabilities experience learning with their peers without disabilities in universities?
- What arethe barriers to effective teaching and learning of students with disabilities in tertiary institutions?
- How do students with disabilities experience participation in the learning process?
- What isthe effect of teaching and learning on undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities?
- How is the undergraduate disabled students’ experience of teaching, learning and assessment?
- What are the ways of improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of teaching and learning on undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities.
H1: There is a significant effect of teaching and learning on undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities.
The results of the study have generated knowledge on the real situation of the teaching and learning of disabled students in higher learning institutions in Nigeria and their major challenges. Secondly, findings from the study are expected to assist in establishing a base for the government and other stakeholders to follow up how to provide accessible, quality and equitable higher education to people with disabilities. Thirdly, it is expected to help policy makers and education planners to review existing educational policies, plans and priorities so as to find out better ways of financing and supporting students with physical disabilities in higher education at the same time improving enrolment, survival, completion and performance rates of this group of students in higher learning institutions.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to effect of teaching and learning for undergraduate persons with disabilities in universities.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Special Needs: Particular educational requirements resulting from physical disability or learning difficulty
Special Needs Education: Especially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability
Learning: Learning is the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences.
Disability: Is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. One disability could be a result of birth complications or it could develop along a life continuum as a consequence of a disease or accident.
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