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African Journal of Chemical Education

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Challenges left-handed students face in Kenyan girls’ secondary school science laboratories

BM Malusi

Abstract


Previous research on left-handedness has mainly taken place in developed countries. This study aimed at investigating the challenges left-handed students faced in secondary school laboratories and how well they coped with the challenges in Kenya. It also sought to find out whether teachers were aware of the challenges and what help if nay they gave the students. The participants were five left-handed science students and their respective subject teachers from a girls’ school in Kenya. The students were enrolled in practical subjects: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer studies and Home science. Qualitative data was collected through classroom observations, individual and group discussions Data revealed that left-handed students experienced challenges generally in school and specifically during practical work. These challenges resulted mainly from having to write left-to right (handwriting), unfavorable sitting positions in uncomfortable desks, handling and manipulating of some apparatus during practical work among others. These challenges posed many  disadvantages to the students as they reported inability to finish timed tasks. Majority of the teachers were aware of the students challenges but
gave insufficient help. The school had nothing in place for the left-handed students, a confirmation that like in many parts of the world,  left-handedness has never been considered a special learning need in our context. The conclusion of this study provide evidence that there is need for Kenya government to rethink her initial and in-service special education needs’ teacher training to include a module in left-handedness in order to equip all teachers to be able to identify and assist left-handed students to learn with least difficult. The researcher suggested that left-handed learners like other mild special needs learners be added more time during timed tasks especially the practical papers in KCSE examinations. [AJCE 4(3), Special Issue, May 2014]



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