Exploring inclusive practices in the Intermediate Phase Mathematics classroom at Umlazi District.
Msomi, Nosipho Phumelele Princess.
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The study sought to explore inclusive practices in intermediate phase mathematics classrooms in Umlazi District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This study sought to explore the experiences of mathematics educators in the intermediate phase, the challenges they face in the implementation of inclusive education, and the types of support and assistance they need. The South African government has implemented numerous changes in education since the 1994 democratic elections, and adopted a policy of inclusive education in 2001. Inclusive education requires educators to ensure that their classrooms and teaching strategies accommodate all learners, regardless of their diversity, in order for all learners to succeed. This study finds that educators have been tasked with the responsibility of implementing the inclusive education policy, and have been faced with diverse challenges that have stalled the successful implementation of inclusive education. Educators need support, guidance and resources to overcome these challenges. The lack of support educators currently receive raises grave concerns regarding the quality of education in South Africa, as does the poor scholastic achievement of learners in mathematics. The aim of this study was to explore inclusive education practices in the intermediate phase mathematics classroom from the perspective of the educators. An interpretivist research philosophy was therefore used to investigate these perspectives, grounded in a social constructivist world view underpinned by the work of Lev Vygotsky. A qualitative research approach was used to construct the investigative interpretivist framework. A case study strategy was used, and qualitative data from eight mathematics teachers in the intermediate phase was generated through scheduled interviews and questionnaires. The data was analysed using thematic analysis that adhered to Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six steps. The findings of this study highlighted the need for appropriate educator training at tertiary level; on-going professional development of existing educators; provision of basic teaching resources, and specific resources for mathematics; the recognition of overcrowding, and a reduction of class sizes; the recognition that language barriers contribute enormously to conceptual gaps in mathematics, and the provision of additional resources to address this; and the need for parents to play an active and responsible role in their children‘s education.