Cosmas Mnyanyi, Open University of Tanzania, Psychology and Special Education Department, Faculty Member. Studies Special and inclusive education . Find out more about Lancaster University’s research activities, view details of publications, outputs and awards and make contact with our researchers. G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph) Changing Teachers┬┤Practices in Regular Schools Enrolling Children with Visual Impairment – An Action Research Project.

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Mnyanyi Born M. Changing teachers practices in regular schools enrolling children with visual impairment: The special schools and units are too few and in most cases they are far away from the children s homes. cosmws

Changing Teachers Practices in Regular Schools Enrolling Children with Visual Impairment – PDF

More and more regular schools are enrolling children with visual impairment, but the schools lack financial resources, tactile teaching materials and trained special education teachers. Children with visual impairment enrolled in regular schools seldom mnyanji enough support and knyanyi fail in examinations. The general aim of this study was to contribute to increased knowledge and understanding about how teachers can change their teaching practices and thus facilitate the learning of children with visual impairment included in regular classrooms as they participate in an action clsmas project.

The project was conducted in a primary school in a poor rural region with a high frequency of blindness and visual impairment. The school was poorly resourced and the average number of pupils per class was The teachers who participated in the collaborative action research project were the 14 teachers who taught blind or visually impaired pupils in grades 4 and 6, in total 6 pupils.

The action research project was conducted during a period of 6 months and coskas carried out in five cycles.

The teachers were actively involved in all the project activities; identifying challenges, planning solutions, producing teaching materials, reflecting on outcomes, collaborating and evaluating.

Empirical data was collected with questionnaires, interviews, observations and cosmass group discussions. The findings of the study show that the teachers managed to change their teaching practices through systematic reflection, analysis and collaboration. The teachers produced a variety of tactile teaching materials, which facilitated the learning of the pupils with visual impairment.

The pupils learned better and felt more included in the regular classes. The teachers gained new knowledge and skills.

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They grew professionally and started to collaborate with each other. The study contributes to new knowledge of how collaborative action research can be conducted in the area of special education in a Tanzanian school context. The study has also relevance to the planning of school-based professional development programs and teacher education programs in Tanzania and in other low-income countries.

The results also point at strategies which can promote inclusion of children with disabilities in regular schools. Through them I learnt a lot. During the writing process, I had opportunities to share my work with my fellow doctoral students in various seminars. In the seminar discussions our supervisors and fellow doctoral students shared a number of scientific issues. Such moments provided me with insights on how to improve my work. You supported me when I needed support.


In my research work I was invited into the lives of the teachers of the children with visual impairment who were included in regular classes in my project school. To this end, I thank all the teachers who participated in my engaging and demanding research work.

It was a learning experience for all concerned. The teachers showed me trust and respect. The teachers gave me their time and allowed me to sit in their classrooms. We indeed depended on each other as we were acknowledging and sharing the expertise we each brought to this research study.

I also owe thanks to the children who welcomed me and shared with me their school lives.

Mnuanyi learnt a lot from the children s experiences. I remember their songs and joy which they brought to me ocsmas my school visits. I remember the way they were open to me in giving suggestions on what teachers should do so that they learn better. Thank you so much for allowing me to share your stories.

In the race of excellence there is no finishing line. I am indebted to the prereviewers of my thesis Professor Tiina Itkonen from California State University, Channel Islands, USA and Professor Matts Mattsson from Stockholm University, Sweden who read my manuscript and gave valuable and constructive comments which supported me in improving the manuscript and finalizing this research work.

I thank the staff at the Swedish School for the Blind in Helsinki. I finally thank my late father Boniface Mnyanyi and my Mother Magdalena Sambula Kitinya for laying foundation of my education. They were so influential in making me feel happy. Pilot study Phase II: The study, part one Phase III: Identifying teachers practices and challenges Teachers practices and support strategies Teachers challenges and proposed solutions The teachers reflections in implementing cycle Children s voices Summarizing reflections and a way forward Cycle 2: Developing tactile teaching materials Creating, preparing and trying out tactile teaching materials the start The teachers views of the tactile teaching materials Challenges related to preparation and use of tactile teaching materials Children mnaynyi voices Summarizing reflections and a way forward Cycle 3: Developing tactile teaching materials: Changing practices through collaboration Collaboration between teachers Collaboration between teachers and children Collaboration between children Children s voices Summarizing reflections and a way forward Cycle 5: Evaluation of the mnyanti research project Head teacher s views of the project The teachers views of the project Children s views of the project Researcher s final reflection Discussion Methodological considerations Main findings Competence and capability Collaboration Knowledge and skills Attitudes Reflection.

Teachers Action research project evaluation Appendix 2.

Individual Teacher on the action research project Appendix 3. Phase two data collection tools Appendix 5. Observation checklist for cycles 2, 3, 4, and Appendix 7.

Sample teaching materials at Maisha Primary School Appendix 8. Percentage of persons with disabilities aged 7 years and above Table 2. Number of schools enrolling children with disabilities Table 3. Background information of teachers participating in the project Table 5. Overview of activities in cycle one Table 6.

Teaching methods used by teachers frequencies Table 7. Support strategies for children with VI frequencies Table 8. Teaching methods and support strategies for children with VI Table 9. Teachers challenges frequencies Table Teachers coskas solutions frequencies Table Teachers challenges and proposed solutions Table Challenges teachers faced in specific subject teaching Table Teachers views on the challenges in teaching children with VI Table Overview of activities in cycle two Table Teachers challenges and comments frequencies Table Teachers preparations and actions by teaching subject Table Challenges related to preparation and use of TTM Table Overview of activities in cycle three Table Teachers innovations Table Overview of Activities in Cycle Four Table Practices and outcomes through collaboration between teachers Table Practices and outcomes through collaboration between teachers and children Table Practices and outcomes through collaboration among children Table cosmass Overview of activities in cycle five Codmas Teachers views on the action research project.


Tactile Alphabets without Braille text Photo 2. Tactile numbers and figures without Braille text Photo 3.

Tactile Numbers with Braille illustration Photo 4. Tactile figures with Braille illustration Photo 5. Map with Braille illustration Photo 6.

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Sample of tactile teaching materials developed Photo 7. Alphabets with illustrations in Braille Photo 8.

Sample of textbooks used in primary schools Photo 9. English Teaching Resource Photo Poki using Science Teaching Resource Photo The methodological approach used in the study is action research AR. To change practices means cozmas create new knowledge and actions as a result of engaging community members in identifying problems and challenges and designing and implementing solution strategies. In this study teachers actively participated in the action research process, producing pedagogical knowledge coxmas they continuously addressed challenges and problems they encountered when meeting the unique learning needs of all the children in their classes, especially children with VI.

Why is it relevant to focus on teachers perceived challenges in teaching in the Tanzanian context? The question can be answered in terms of rights to education. Most people would agree that children with VI have a right to quality education, whether in developed or developing societies. However, the reality in most countries, especially in developing countries, is far from reaching that aim. This is also the case in Tanzania, which is the mnyani of this study.

However not much have been achieved especially in addressing teaching in classes enrolling children with disabilities. Formal education for persons with visual impairment has a history of over 60 years in Tanzania. However, education for persons with visual impairment has never reached the majority of this group.

Education for the visually impaired was introduced in the s in segregated settings, confined to special boarding schools, and mostly run by philanthropic organizations, especially nongovernmental organizations NGO and faith based organizations FBO.