Teaching the intellectually impaired : challenges experienced by non-specialist educators in Pietermaritzburg special schools.
Ntombela, Gladys Nokwazi Nyameka.
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This study was undertaken to explore the challenges experienced by non- specialist educators teaching in special schools for the intellectually impaired learners in one of Pietermaritzburg special schools. The theoretical and conceptual framework is underpinned by two theories, Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory and Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism. A qualitative research design was chosen with a descriptive, contextual and explorative research focus, giving a true reflection of the participants’ situation. Purposive sampling was used to select participants, a homogenous group of non- specialist educators. A case study method was used. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and observations using pre-designed interview and observation schedules. The main findings of the study were that the following factors contributed to the challenges experienced by non- specialist educators teaching the intellectually impaired learners and are fully discussed within chapter five that are: • Curriculum; • Different levels of intellectual ability and; • Lack of specialized training. The study concludes that non-specialist educators need specialized training. In addition, more support is necessary in the form of class assistants and bursaries to support further study. Without adequate and relevant staff development programs, the quality of teaching and learning in such schools will continue to be compromised.