Teaching and learning of science amongst students with visual impairments, and inclusive education

Science learning and visualization: A case of student with and without vision

Knowledge of science and technology (S&T) is a must for optimal social participation of citizens. However, students with visual impairments (SVI) are at a disadvantage while learning S&T due to overemphasis on the visual mode of communication in teaching. We tried to understand and enhance school learning of SVI through activities using multiple modes of perception and the historical approach to atomic models. The study was conducted with two groups of students in different educational settings; an inclusive setting, and a special educational setting. The study indicates that verbal descriptions; tactile perceptions; 3 dimensional models and objects; and making drawings of perceived concepts were effective in providing learning experiences to SVI and that students in inclusive settings benefited through collaboration. The study highlights the process of visualising and learning science among SVI and suggests changes in educational methodologies to benefit SVI.


Sharma, A., & Chunawala, S. (2016). Science learning and visualisation: A case of students with and without vision, learning the atomic structure. In G. J. Vitus and C. Praveen (Eds.), Standards and benchmarks for excellence in learning and teaching research: Conference proceedings of annual-cum-international conference of All India Association for Educational Research INTCONF 2015 (pp. 12-22). Kerala: University of Kerala.

Using diagrams in inclusive learning situations

Diagrams and drawings are important tools for understanding science. However, these are often not given due importance in textbooks and specifically braille textbooks. Haptic perception through raised lined diagrams and use of colours give students with/without vision a better opportunity for visualisation. Studies have also indicated that interactive peer support strategies help in the successful inclusion of students with disabilities in general education. The study focused on understanding questions raised by students while observing diagrams and how students with visual impairments represent their visualisation. It used adapted diagrams with small groups of students to facilitate peer to peer interaction.


Sharma, A. & Chunawala, S. (2015). Using diagrams in inclusive learning situations. In S. Chandrasekharan, S.  Murthy, G. Banerjee and A. Muralidhar (Eds.), Proceedings epiSTEME 6: International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (pp 117-124). Mumbai: Cinnamonteal.

Marching towards inclusive education in India: A review of literature

The paper reports the historical background of inclusion in education and the status of inclusion in
education in India. The article concludes that in spite of several efforts by the Government and other
educational agencies in India, the dream of inclusive education for all students with differential abilities-disabilities or belonging to any social or cultural group remains unfulfilled. When focusing on science education, one finds that there is a lack of data on status of students from different marginalised backgrounds in science education, yet from the little data found it is evident that science education is not inclusive. The possible reasons seem to be: lack of positive attitude towards inclusion, lack of institutionalisation of strategies which have been made by isolated educators to make science inclusive, lack of use of adaptive technologies and low expectations in science from students with disabilities


Sharma, A. & Chunawala, S. (2013). Marching towards inclusive education: Are we prepared for inclusive science education?. In G. Nagarjuna, A. Jamakhandi and E. Sam (Eds.), Proceedings epiSTEME  International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (pp 314-320). Mumbai: Cinnamonteal.

Students with disabilities and their aspirations in science

For a democratic and egalitarian society, education needs to be inclusive so that equal opportunities are
made available to all students. However it has been found that only a few students with disabilities get
enrolled in higher levels of education (NCPEDP, 2005). One of the reason behind this may be the present
state of education which does not take into account the aspirations of students with disabilities (SWD).
This paper reports on a study of the aspirations in science of 30 SWD students studying in classes VI to X in 6 different schools. The study is important for science education as it throws light on the aspirations of SWD and suggests ways to make science education more inclusive


Sharma, A. & Chunawala, S. (2013). Students with disabilities and their aspirations in sciences. In Nagarjuna G., Jamakhandi, A. and Sam, E. (Eds.), Proceedings epiSTEME 5: International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (pp. 74-80). Mumbai: Cinnamonteal.