Learning of mechanical systems in grade 9 technology classroom by deaf learners in KwaZulu-Natal : an exploration of a learning of technology in a non-hearing environment.
Thabethe, Bhekisisa Maxwell.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the learning of Mechanical Systems in a Grade 9 Technology classroom by Deaf learners in KwaZulu-Natal. The study focused on how Technology is learned in a non-hearing environment, considering the nature of Technology and the interdisciplinarity between Technology and Mathematics. This is a case study set within an interpretive paradigm. Since there were five Deaf learners constituting the Grade 9 Technology class, all were considered to be participants in this study. A blended learning model (BLM) was identified as the theoretical framework for this study. BLM is foregrounded on cognitive and social constructivism, with an intention to explore the learning of Mechanical Systems in a non-hearing environment. The data collection schedule included the following methods: • Classroom observation; • Document analysis; and • Semi-structured interviews. The results of this research were analysed qualitatively in order to adhere to the principles of the interpretive paradigm. The research findings of this study highlighted that Deaf learners’ previous experience limited their exposure to daily practices, resulting in misunderstanding of concepts in Mechanical Systems. Furthermore, the results showed effectiveness of demonstrations and simulations in enhancing the comprehension of concepts in Mechanical Systems. The findings of my study concur with Piaget’s view that the comprehension of a child is enhanced when learning is made concrete to them. Deaf learners’ participation in Technology activities assisted them to develop an understanding of concepts in Mechanical Systems, and facilitated effectiveness of interdisciplinarity in scientific subjects.