Supporting learners who experience barriers to learning : a case study of a full-service school at Umlazi District.
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Education qualifies and equips us to move forward in life with confidence and skills to manage ourselves. It is, therefore, imperative that everyone accesses it whether they have a disability or not. Education is a right, not a privilege that is why all of us should be able to enjoy it without fear or favour. Some of us, if not all of us, experience barriers to learning one way or the other. This study investigated what teachers consider as barriers to learning, how teachers support learners who experience barriers during teaching and learning, and lastly, it identified strategies that teachers use in supporting these learners. Using a qualitative methodology and an interpretive research paradigm, the study employed focus group interviews and questionnaires to gain insight into how teachers support learners experiencing barriers to learning every day in the classroom. Barriers these teachers deal with include academic barriers (language), physical barriers, socio-economic factors, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, psychological problems, lack of parental involvement and minimal or inadequacy of resources. Teachers, therefore, use different strategies in supporting learners and these include remediation, extra tuition, individual attention and/or group work. The approach that was chosen for this study is a case study. Purposive and convenience sampling were employed to select the six participants who participated in this study voluntarily. Questionnaires and focus group interviews were the data collection techniques employed. The findings show that although teachers are willing to support learners, they experience challenges when it comes to implementing this policy because of resource scarcity as well as minimal support from the Department of Education and parents. This is a major challenge for them in properly supporting learners because they themselves need support.