An investigation into 4th years' readiness in teaching in inclusive schools :a case study of early childhood development student teachers at UKZN.
Ezeonwuachusi, Nnenna Fidelia.
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South African education as a new frame of reference at the dawn of democracy is still on the slow progress towards the implementation of inclusive education. Teachers are seen as the key role players with regards to its proper implementation and acceptance in schools. As a result various researchers whose interest is on diverse needs have begun to examine the student teacher’s willingness as well as their readiness among other links towards inclusive practices. This study “an investigation into 4th year’s readiness in teaching in inclusive school: A case study of Early Childhood Development student teachers at UKZN” aims to determine how ready the student teachers are and how well the curriculum prepared the students for the classroom to implement inclusive education; by thinking, teaching and working as an inclusive teacher in public schools in South Africa. This study also highlighted the importance of the Early Childhood Development teacher training Curriculum; to be reconstructed in order to expand, develop and reinforce more knowledge of inclusion to the pre-service teachers. The literature study offered a review on the different studies of inclusive education with specific references on inclusion in global context, inclusion in South Africa context, inclusion in higher education, pre-service teacher’s attitudes, readiness, challenges and perception to proper implementation, as well as multicultural education and Early Childhood Development (ECD). Theoretical frameworks such as eco-systemic and social constructivist theories were employed to understand the theories influences on student teachers readiness. These were found to be appropriate in understanding student teachers readiness in terms of the structure of the curriculum and the extent of knowledge acquired by these student teachers with regards to implementation of inclusive education. v Data was collected using semi structured interview in a purposive sampling. Data analysis for this study was informed by concepts such as philosophy of inclusion, inclusive education and inclusion. The data analysis was informed by social constructivism and eco-systemic theories which helped to understand how the student teachers understand inclusive education and its implications in the classroom. Recommendations were made based on the findings of the study that revealed that ECD curriculum of the University should be restructured to suit inclusive environments. This study concludes that the University of Kwa Zulu Natal should structure a curriculum for a Bachelor of Education in Inclusive Education.