Novice teachers' experiences of teaching visually impaired learners in the foundation phase : a case study of one special school.
Previous research has indicated that novice teachers in special schools usually require more training and support from their schools to have a positive teaching experience. Teachers in the foundation phase usually have a general teaching qualification that does not adequately prepare them for teaching special needs learners like visually impaired learners. Novice teachers therefore face many challenges in teaching visually impaired learners in the foundation phase. This study focuses on novice teachers teaching visually impaired learners in the foundation phase. The dissertation is aspired to explore their experiences in teaching visually impaired learners in the foundation phase. Burden’s theoretical framework that explores the stages of the teachers’ career development was used to guide this study. The objectives of the study was to understand the experiences of novice teachers’ teaching visually impaired learners in the foundation phase. The study also aimed at exploring the strategies used to enhance the teaching and learning of these learners according to the foundation phase curriculum. To explore this a qualitative approach and a case study design was employed. I sampled three teachers in the foundation phase at one special school. Data sources included teacher interviews, observations, questionnaires and document analysis such as teacher files which included lesson plans. The findings were analysed and discussed according to the different data generation techniques that were utilised. The findings revealed that the teachers required more support and guidance as novice teachers on how to adapt their teaching for visually impaired learners. The teachers all stated that more practical training should be provided for special needs novice teachers. However, all teachers stated they had positive experiences teaching visually impaired learners. Teachers claimed that through experience they grow and learn new strategies to adapt their teaching for visually impaired learners The findings also revealed that teachers were supported by other staff such as experienced teachers, therapists and teacher aides. The teachers revealed that although they initially found it challenging, now they see it as a rewarding career choice.