The challenges left-handed students face in secondary school science laboratories: The case of Kenyan National girls' secondary school.

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Samuel Oyoo

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Peter Kajoro


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Previous research on left-handedness has mainly taken place in the developed countries. It indicated that left-handed people are discriminated against in nearly all aspects of their lives. It also indicated that left-handedness has never been treated as a special leaning need in any education system in the world. The aim of this study was to investigate the challenges left-handed students faced in secondary school science laboratories and how well they coped with the challenges. It also sought to find out whether teachers were aware of these challenges and how well they helped the left-handed students cope. The study participants were five left-handed secondary school science students and their respective subject teachers from a girls' national school in Kenya. The students were enrolled in the practical subjects: chemistry, physics, biology and home science. Classroom observations, individual and group interviews were used to collect data from the student participants. Teachers were five in number. Data revealed that left-handed students experienced challenges generally in class and in the science laboratories in particular. The challenges resulted mainly from: handwriting. uncomfortable desks and unfavorable sitting positions. handling and manipulation of apparatus during practical work. The challenges posed many disadvantages to the students, as they reported inability to finish timed tasks. Majority of Teachers were aware of the students' challenges but gave insufficient help. The school had nothing in place for left-handed students, a confirmation that left-handedness. like in many parts of the world has never been considered a special learning need in our context. The conclusion of this study provides evidence that there is need for the Kenya government to rethink her initial and in-service special education needs teacher training too include a module in left-handedness in order to equip all teachers to be able to identify and assist left-handed students to lean with least difficulty.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library