THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS AND USE OF ACADEMIC INFORMATION
An information literate society is characterised by the use of theoretical knowledge, scientific decision-making, and problem-solving. Its members depend on accurate and reliable information, and a well-developed infrastructure exists for the production, distribution, retrieval and use of information (Fouché, 1982:41; Martin, 1988:40). Society has so many challenges involving nformation issues, including recreation, enculturation, and self-actualisation, that the acquisition of academic information can be regarded as absolutely necessary in order to maintain an individual’s independence and improve his/her knowledge base (Bench, 1992:20).
Adolescents with hearing loss need to acquire essential knowledge and skills in order to help them to plan and carry out complex projects, and to be critical, creative and reflective thinkers, decision-makers, and problem-solvers. If adolescents with hearing loss are able to learn how to access and use academic information successfully, it will enable them to live independently and to lead a life based on selfexploration and knowledge. This can help to develop their self-esteem and confidence and increase their feeling of independence (Murray, 2000: 8). They will learn to display emotional intelligence, a positive attitude, respect, and positive behavioural traits towards themselves and thers. Without appropriate education, an adolescent with hearing loss will not be able to advance in society as an independent, employed, contributing citizen (WFD Policy, Education rights for deaf children, 2007: 2).
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM AND FINDING A SOLUTION
The central problem statement of this study is formulated against the framework of the preceding introduction and rationale. From the literature and from observation of society, it appears that dolescents with hearing loss do not have the ability to access and use academic information. It is possible that much of this can be attributed to the fact that they are not information literate – and furthermore that this phenomenon can be observed during their schooling years. The following research question can therefore be based on the preceding discussion: “To what extent are adolescents with hearing loss in special schools able to access and use relevant information for academic purposes?” The study aims to determine the access and use of academic information by adolescents with hearing loss in special schools and subsequently to develop suggestions that strive to address these needs and provide support for teachers and media teachers in special chools. In an attempt to answer the research question and to propose a solution, the study will consist of two parts, namely:
• A critical review of the existing literature on information literacy in general and the use of academic information by adolescents with hearing loss in special schools and..
• a descriptive survey designed to investigate the quantitative and qualitative access and use of information by adolescents with hearing loss in special schools.
The survey is divided into Phases 1 and 2. Phase 1 aims to determine the access and use of cademic information as perceived by the adolescents themselves, their teachers and media teachers. Questionnaires will be applied to determine the perception of the access and use of academic information. Phase 2 involves the direct assessment of access and use of academic information by adolescents with hearing loss and involves the process of how academic information is accessed and used in the media centre. This is observed by the researcher, noting what the pupil is doing while interacting with the print. The researcher takes note of the adolescents’ skills in accessing and using the relevant information, the process they follow and whether they comprehend the assignment that is given to them in the media centre. The researcher makes notes according to a checklist.
INTRODUCTION AND ORIENTATION
INFLUENCE OF HEARING LOSS ON THE ACQUISITION OF INFORMATION LITERACY
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS