Sunday, June 3, 2012

Research Paper on Physical Education

Teaching Individuals with Hearing Impairments in a Physical Education Setting

Helen Keller was a student and an entrepreneur. She was an inspirational leader for children everywhere. She was also, by the age of 19, considered legally both blind and deaf. As the personification of the Helen Keller Foundation, she overcame many obstacles throughout her life. She set the tone and paved a path for a confident generation of people who are in one way or another handicapped.(Helen Keller…, 2005) As someone who was trapped in a silent and dark world, Helen Keller managed to visit 35 different countries and taught the world that one should not be considered inadequate due to his or her physical limitations. (Helen Keller…, 2005)

The following essay has attempted to describe the different educational techniques for instructing people like Helen Keller. More specifically, it has attempted to identify the best methods for teaching physical education to students with hearing impairments. Included are findings on different levels of hearing loss such as those who are deaf or hard of hearing. General education principles for the deaf as well as more specific techniques were researched. There are various aspects of education that are limited by various handicaps. Therefore, it was important to analyze the different approaches that can be beneficial to each type of handicap.


Literature Review
1. How Can Martial Arts Benefit the Disabled? (Lichtenthal, 2004)
This is an article that focused on the ways the physical education of various types of martial arts can benefit people living with different disabilities. This article described how martial arts can act as a therapy, how it can help in rehab practices, and how it empowers the deaf, the blind, and mentally disabled. A martial art based on Zen philosophy called akido emphasizes the ability to fully control one’s mind. The article referenced several organizations, such as DAS (Deaf Akidoists Society), AMAAD (American Martial Arts Association for the Deaf) and IMAFD (I.M.A.F.D), which focus on providing resources and the development of a good environment for this type of education to deaf people. It also provided a key statistics, courtesy of the U.S Census bureau that showed 9.3 million people suffer some type of hearing loss in the year 2000. This article provided an idea of the availability of resources for the physical education of deaf people.

However, the article offered little insight into the techniques and tactics one can use in order to provide this type of environment. Furthermore, this article was most likely posted as a tool for promotion of private martial arts organizations so it must be taken in stride, accounting for professional bias.

2. Academic Status of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students in public schools: Student, home, and service facilitators and detractors. (Reed et al., 2008)

This journal focused on a study determining the effect of various facilitators and detractors of DHH (Deaf or Hard of Hearing) students in the public school education system. Relevant data that the study found included the following: A major detractor of studies for the deaf is the lack of communication, due to the parents’ lack of English speaking skills, between parents and educators, as well as parents and students. On the contrary, high expectations from parents and teachers proved to be a facilitator of success in multiple instances. Constant staff development, instructional practices, and strict homework policies were necessary elements in order to maintain high expectations.

Applying these principles to physical education would be very helpful. For example, a policy regarding in-class assignments and homework assignments such as stretching and muscle development should not be modified on a routine basis for DHH students, but rather on a need-met structure. The article also provided key statistics that would greatly benefit educators when conducting a lesson plan. An example of these statistics is; the most common family detractor, affecting 24% of the students, was the inability to encourage or help with homework.

3. Article Abstract: Physical education for deaf students
(Stewart et al., 1999)
This article, originally published in the American Annals of the Deaf, highlighted the need for and characterization of an ideal physical education program. The hypothesis was that the goal of such a program should be to promote a life-long love for physical activity and healthy living. This required a passion filled, inspired creative, and informed approach, which would in turn motivate the students.

4. Council on Education of the Deaf: Office of Program Evaluation (Strong, B., 1998)
This document was used as a tool for the purpose of evaluating various educational programs for DHH students. It evaluated mostly general, yet important, criterion. The first category of criteria was curriculum design. This comprised of factors such as the preparation of the teachers for teaching the deaf and hard of hearing and the relativity of set objectives to the students’ career path. Another category was practicum, which analyzed the amount of supervision provided for each phase of practicum and the availability of appropriate/ specialized facilities.

Qualifying data is important in any field and in this case, it has helped many organizations construct a stable and effective environment for children with disabilities. The guidelines that could have been provided with the data gathered are bound to assist educators. This data, however, is not practical enough to ensure the most efficient and effective method of instruction.

5. Deaf Educator’s Tool Kit (Johnson, C.D., 2008)
This is a 98 page electronic pamphlet that was designed to assist educators with the instruction of deaf and hard of hearing pupils. The toolkit covered the assessment, placement, instruction, monitoring, and coaching of students, as well as other elements. It reviewed common behaviors as well as classroom management strategies. The details covered in this document include descriptions of optimal listening conditions via survey and assessment. It also outlined, in detail, the importance of technology as well as self-advocacy and leadership development amongst students.

This tool should be seen as a vital proponent for any teacher of DHH pupils. A component that would have been especially applicable to physical education is the ‘Functional Communication Continuum- Receptive/ Expressive’ structure, which helps to detail the preferred method of communication for pupils in various classroom settings. Other supporting techniques included the communication plan as well as the classroom participation questionnaire, among many others.

Literary Summary
There is a lot that is involved in teaching physical education to children with hearing impairments, and ensuring that they maximize their potential. It involves planning, research, and excellent communication skills. Applying the benefits communication skills is a skill that can be developed by any educator, with the proper tools.

It is also important to remember the small things. For instance, seeing as hearing aids amplify all the incoming sounds for the child, it is important to minimize background noise. This can be done by doing simple seemingly insignificant steps such as keeping windows closed, turning down air conditioners, as well as taking more drastic measures such installing acoustic wall panels or installing tennis balls on the bottom of chairs, even if it means ordering twice as many tennis balls.

Discussion/ Future Consideration
The ability to keep up, listen, and learn with their peers, is largely affected by the environment in which the special needs child is placed. For instance, a child with a limited hearing range should be situated closer to the teacher than a child with fully functional hearing. However, this may be hard to do in a gym where the children like to spread out and enjoy their bodies. Even so, there are many small things one can do that would in turn help a student with a hearing disability study. (Plumley, 2008)

For students with limited hearing range, it is recommended to use visual aids during instruction. This means instead of saying basketball, one should show the basketball. Other tactics include recording key points on the board, or in the case of hands-on instruction, presenting handouts of vital information, lecturing loudly and clearly, and facing the students while talking. It is also important to speak slowly and repeat ideas in distinctive ways. To ensure full understanding, one may want to couple students with a partner, or “study buddy” or even arrange the classroom in a circle so the student can see the rest of the class during instruction. (Plumley, 2008)
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