School, Personal and Familial Factors Affecting the Academic Performance of Students At Risk with Learning Disabilities
Basis for Designing a Supportive Classroom Environment
Abstract 2015 31 Pages
Table of content
Respondents of the Study
The term special education refers to a variety of educational provisions for individuals who have exceptional learning needs. The advent of Special Education (SPED) in the country serves as blessings to parents who have differently -abled children. Its implementation gives hope to children and individuals with special needs to enjoy life and protect them from unfairness, prejudice and abuses (Galeos, 2008).
One of the exceptionalities which children in SPED suffers is Learning Disabilities (LD). Silver in 2008 defines learning disabilities as a neurological disorder where the brain works or is structured in such a way that it impedes the ability to receive, store, process, or produce information. Studies confirmed the greatest number of LD enrolled each year, (Villafranca 2008 and Galleos 2009) and validated by DepEd Gingoog SPED report 2011 for both elementary and secondary levels.
Gingoog City Comprehensive National High School in the Division of Gingoog City is the only secondary school accepting SPED students. The increasing number of enrollees of LD each year among other exceptionalities is so alarming that a Self- Contained classrooms are opened to address these students’needs.
Every year, the researcher and some of SPED teachers encounter the problem of accommodating all at risk with LD considering there are many who are identified “at risks” but only twenty five ( 25 ) students should be accommodated in every year level due to the lack of SPED teachers and classrooms. However, there are still other problems encountered in the classroom environment of these learners aside from their difficulties in learning to listen, read, write, spell, reason, recall, organize information, or do mathematical works.
One of this problem is, these children at risk with LD at GCCNHS have often humiliated, underestimated and criticized due to their difficulties which affects much of their self- efficacy and self- esteem. Aside from that, these children also are burdened with labels such as “ poor readers’, “fools”, “ stupid”, “lazy”, “learning disabled“, “abnormal” , “dumb”, “idiot”, “uncooperative”, “trouble makers” and others (Wagner, 1971 and Howard & Orlandy, 1980).
Furthermore, in GCCNHS scenario, these children are always prone to failures and drop outs of schools because both parents and teachers failed to understand the difficulty suffered by these children since majority of them have no knowledge about SPED or LD. They are forced to functions as normal children, mix in regular classes undetected and unnoticed and forced unintentionally to work assignment, requirements, projects and take examinations beyond their capacity intellectually and physically. Regular teachers on the other side can’t be blame in dealing children at risk with LD due to their lack of knowledge about special education.
One main issue that needs to be addressed when dealing with these children is their self-efficacy. According to Bandura (1982), self-efficacy is the perception that a person can organize and carry out some action. Self-efficacy is one's beliefs that he can succeed in a specific task. Bandura pointed out researches confirmation that students with high self-efficacy beliefs are more motivated to learn, attempt more challenging tasks, and are more persistent in the particular tasks in which their beliefs are high.
Low self-esteem of LD students is one of the reasons of their academic failure. Research has shown links between self-concept, self-efficacy and self-esteem and academic performance (British Dyslexia Association , 1998). There is also evidence that children with special needs tend to have lower self-efficacy and self-esteem than those without difficulties (Gunrey, 1998, Elbaum & Vaughn, 2001). Poor self-esteem is another effect of learning disability (Reidel 2003)
However, Vargo and Young (2011) and Silver (2008) noted that individuals with learning disabilities have average-range or above average general intelligence , with specific areas of learning problems that can cause a person to have trouble learning and where they need remedial educational help. These means that LD students are not totally slow learners, some of them excel in some areas like Math but they failed to excel in language areas. In most cases they are good communicators and good in oral performances.
Some researchers and theorists give hope to children with disabilities to perform better in school despite their problems. West (1997) in his book “In the Mind’s Eye” flashed vividly the profiles of great minds in politics, science, literature and arts who are having learning disability but their difficulty did not hinder then from achieving fames. To name them, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Marie curie, and others. West was supported by Gardner (1993) , Gens et al and Riddick (1998) .
It was Gardner (1993) who introduced the theory of Multiple Intelligences claiming that all humans are born with intelligences. Researchers done by Geimer, Gets, Pochert & Pullman (2000) , Gains et al (2000) and Uhlir (2003) found Gardner’s theory of M.I. has appeared as major strategy to improve students’ motivation and academic performance across curriculum including the lower achieving students with Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
IEP is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services special child will receive and why. It will include child's classification, placement, modifications, accommodations, personnel, placement, services such as a one-on-one aide and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and progress reports from teachers and therapists. It is a written plan developed by the parents and the schools special education team that specifies the students’ academic goals and the method to obtain these goals.
Edward in 1994 stated that LD can cause “emotional scar” to children at risk with Learning Disabilities. Riddick in 1998 and Mel Livine (2004) found that these children were disappointed, fed up, sad, depressed, angry and embarrassed by their difficulties. What is worst is, when parents and teachers refuse to acknowledge the multiple intelligences in these children despite well published information and researches of their talents.
GCCNHS self-contained LD at risks students are still burden with labels by peers, parents, teachers in the campus and people around them which lower their self-efficacy and self-esteem and eventually result to lowering their self-worth and beliefs to do better in school. Their environment is not totally friendly and wholesome despite the advocacy of the researcher to all GCCNHS faculty, staff, students and parents during the annual orientation program.
Hence, it is for this reason that this research work was done. This study endeavored to find out the relations of self-efficacy, self-esteem, multiple intelligences and parents and teachers’ involvement of high school students at risk with learning disability to design a support classroom environment for these students.
The main purpose of this study was to determine the specific learning disabilities, level of self-efficacy , self-esteem multiple intelligences, parent and teacher’s involvement of students at risks with learning disabilities and their influence to the academic performance of high school students at risk with learning disabilities in order to design a supportive classroom environment for these children.
This study theorized that academic performance of students at risk with learning disability is influenced by various factors such as self-efficacy, self-esteem, multiple intelligences and parents and teachers’ involvement. This theory is supported on intellectual theorists, experts, and educators’ below.
According to Orton’s theory of learning disability specifically dyslexia as mentioned by Mercer (1991) he speculated that one side of the brain dominated the language process. He thought that children with language difficulties who had no demonstrable brain injury had failed to establish hemispheric dominance. As mentioned by West (1997) and Mercer (1991) each hemisphere of our brain controls the opposite half of our body. Usually, the left controls most of the language functions and the right controls other functions such as spatial, visualization and music. Orton theorized that one side of our brain has to dominate over the other and become specialized in some other functions in order for the child to be able to learn. If it does not occur it will cause confusion and give rise to learning delay and learning difficulty.
Galadurda (1997) believed that human with ordinary brain tends to be asymmetrical in certain important ways which means certain structures are generally larger than in the left hemisphere than in the right hemisphere. However, the brains of students with learning disability have found to be symmetrical. Ordinary brains have left hemisphere that are larger than the right while the brain of children with learning disability have two hemisphere that are equal in size.
Although the said theories have opposed the whole brain theory developed by Hermann in 1998 stating that the brain was divided into upper left/right and lower left/right parts. As a whole the upper part of the brain concerns the conceptual and abstract thinking whereas the lower part of the brain concerned on the emotional and visceral. However, Hermann (2000) considered the dominance of the brain in individual as normal and natural that results from experiences and conditions faced by organism in daily basis. It is therefore recommended to develop the whole brain of the child for better learning.
Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy (Cherry 2010) emphasizes the role of observational learning, social experience, and reciprocal determinism in the development of personality.
According to Bandura self-efficacy plays an essential part of this self-system. In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel (Bandura, 1994).
Self-efficacy beliefs (Klassen , 2007) are important in the learning and motivation of students with learning disabilities. The key is making sure their self-efficacy beliefs are accurate and a bit more. One of the factors that influence self-efficacy beliefs further than the actual failure or success of previous attempts of the task, is to which cause the student attributes the success or failure.
According to James (as cited by Flynn 2003) in self-esteem theory, the self is determined by the ratio of one’s actualities to the proposed potentialities, a fraction of which one’s pretensions are the denominators and one’s success the numerators, thus, self-esteem = success/ pretensions. Such a fraction may be increased as well as diminished the denominators as by increasing the numerators (http/www.thirdspace.ca).