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Title: HIV/AIDS education in Kenyan schools for the deaf : teachers' attitudes and beliefs
Author: Biggs, Nalini Asha
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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How do teachers’ attitudes and beliefs impact how HIV/AIDS education is implemented in Kenyan schools for the deaf? How do these attitudes and beliefs reflect how teachers think about Deafness? While there is extensive literature exploring in-school HIV/AIDS-related education in East Africa, there are few studies focusing on segregated schools for the deaf. There are also few studies exploring how educators think about Deafness as culture in this region. Western Kenya offers a useful site for the exploration of these topics with mandated, in-school HIV/AIDS curriculum and a high density of schools for the deaf. Related research also argues that teachers’ attitudes and beliefs and the politics of schooling are useful in exploring socio-cultural constructions of Deafness. While previous studies have argued that “Deaf-friendly” HIV/AIDS education is not occurring in this region, this study found examples in these schools. Data from this study also revealed that this education was shaped by the beliefs and attitudes teachers held about sexuality, and Deafness and sign language. Furthermore, this study found that these attitudes and beliefs revealed underlying beliefs about Deafness that illustrate a range of constructions within this group of teachers. This study spanned 15 weeks of fieldwork gathering data through interviews, questionnaires and observations with 81 participants. Data focused primarily on interviews and questionnaires with 43 teachers in three segregated schools for the deaf in the Nyanza and Western provinces. There were 8 Deaf teachers who participated from these school sites supplemented by an additional 24 Deaf participants working in schools across Kenya to balance data. This study found that while the nationally-mandated HIV/AIDS course curriculum was not implemented in these schools, there was a significant presence of “embedded” and informal HIV/AIDS education. Teachers had a range of feelings about this education, some of which were unique to teaching Deaf children and children using sign language. They also reported how “Deaf stereotypes” shaped how they approached and implemented this education. In some cases these beliefs and attitudes simply heightened preexisting concerns about HIV/AIDS education in similar ways to parallel studies of “regular” schools in this region. However the most striking conclusion from this research was that the presence of “Deaf culture” and the use of sign language among the student population changed the way teachers approached, implemented and reflected upon this education in unique ways not seen in “regular” schools. Interviews also showed that some teachers rationalized their approach to this education because they felt that the Deaf were “different” in certain ways, especially in terms of sexuality. These conclusions are helpful for those in HIV/AIDS education, Comparative and International Education, Disability Studies, Deaf Studies and Medical Anthropology.
Supervisor: Mills, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Attitudes ; Stereotyping and intergroup relations ; Education ; Comparative and international education ; Teaching and teacher education ; Public Health ; Health and health policy ; Deaf ; Disability ; sign language ; deafness ; hearing-impairment ; Special Education ; sex education ; Kenya ; East Africa ; International and Comparative Education ; teachers