Challenges of teaching in the context of inclusive education : an exploration.
In accordance with post 1994 education policies, there is currently a move in South Africa towards implementing an inclusive system of education. Effectively this means that mainstream schools will be expected to admit and educate learners who experience barriers to learning. Teachers are perceived to be the major role players in ensuring that the implementation of new policies in education is successful. However, there are some concerns that the policy of inclusion is difficult to implement because teachers are not adequately well prepared and supported. Against this background, the researcher undertook an exploration of the challenges teachers experience teaching in the context of inclusive education. The objectives were to establish what teachers understand by inclusive education; to identify challenges teachers experience teaching in the context of inclusive education and to find out the kind of support they require to successfully implement inclusive education. To achieve these objectives, a qualitative research approach was employed. Data were collected from a sample of six teachers from one selected secondary school in Umlazi District through semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires. The findings of this study reveal that the participants in the selected school are not adequately prepared for the implementation of the policy of inclusion; they need more information. This is shown by their lack of conceptual knowledge of the policy of inclusion. Teachers are also faced with a number of challenges in their attempts to implement inclusive education. This in essence means that they require support in order to deal with these challenges.