An analysis of learning barriers among deaf learners in the structured workplace component of a learnership programme
Van der Westhuizen, Gillian
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In this research paper, guided by Prof Z Groener, I explore the learning barriers experienced by deaf learners in the structured workplace component of a learnership programme. I focus on the learning barriers of deaf learners at work on an Information Technology learnership where the learning environment shapes and are shaped by deaf learners. Twenty deaf learners have entered during 2005 into an Information Technology: Technical Support NQF4 learnership, funded by the Information Systems (IT), Electronics and Telecommunications Technologies Sector Education Training Authority (ISETT Seta). I have determined how deaf learners are faring with work and learning in a technological environment that has experienced rapid and extensive restructuring during the past ten years. The specific difficulties which they experience during their structured workplace component of the learnerships have also been defined. I argue that when deaf learners form part of a community of practice, consisting of both deaf learners and hearing colleagues and who operate in the same area of knowledge and activity, they fare better than those who did not form part of such a community. I conclude this research paper with a link to the situated learning theory where I explain why the learner’s situation contributed to their ability to learn.