Academic relationships and their influences on learning for students with a hearing disability: The case of Kyambogo University, Uganda
Optimising the learning of students with a hearing disability may require them to have academic relationships among themselves, with learners who have other types of disability, and with those without disabilities. The Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Guidelines confirm that relationships are important for persons with disabilities, including those with a hearing disability, as their fulfilment is essential to personal growth and development. Unfortunately, academic relationships may be a struggle for students with a hearing disability because of inherent and social challenges. This study reveals that some students with a hearing disability at Kyambogo University had good relationships, while others had unpleasant ones. Good relationships helped them to learn, cope with challenges in learning, access learning materials and academic support, and embrace diversity. Delayed communication had a negative influence on their academic relationships. The findings about learning together with, and from, other learners confirm ubuntu’s ‘shared collective humanness and responsibility’. They also confirm that the social model of disability can question barriers to learning and that sound academic relationships are contributing to efforts to overcome barriers and enhance inclusion. Understanding and balancing the interplay between academic relationships, barriers, and their influences on learning can help to improve access to, and success in, the education of learners with a hearing disability.