Assessing Potential Barriers to the Transmission and Learning of Geographic Knowledge to the Visually Impaired




Murr, Christopher D.

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This study examines the effect of stigmatization on visually impaired students at institutions of higher education with respect to their perceived ability to successfully engage in (learn) the visually demanding discipline of geography. Within the framework of stereotype threat theory and labeling theory, statistical analyses were performed (Mann-Whitney, Kruskal-Wallis and stepwise regression) to determine the extent to which explanatory variables defined in the research supported these theories regarding the role of stigmatization in creating potential barriers to the transmission and learning of geographic knowledge to this special needs population. Non-visually impaired subjects served as a control group for the quantitative tests and for the qualitative assessment. The data suggest that, through information collected via web-based survey instruments, the test and control participants have, at a statistically significant level, different perceptions of geography, as well as other visual disciplines, but not with nonvisual fields of study. The results also indicate that variations exist in such perceptions among the visually impaired population depending upon their exposure to threat indicators. The findings better illuminate the potential stigmatization-driven challenges that geographic educators must address in enhancing the diversity of participation and variety of thought in spatial reasoning.



university geography education, stereotype threat theory, labeling theory, visually impaired learning| study of geography, stigmatization


Murr, C.D. (2009). Assessing potential barriers to the transmission and learning of geographic knowledge to the visually impaired (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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