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Problems faced by educators teaching learners experiencing learning problems in mixed ability classes : the case of Lion's River Circuit.

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The purpose of this study is to determine and explain the problems faced by educators teaching learners experiencing learning problems in mixed ability classes. A qualitative research technique, which aimed at studying educators in their natural settings, was used. To achieve this aim the study was conceived as a case study of grade one educators from three Primary Schools at Mpophomeni Township. A self-designed interview schedule that was supplemented by observation schedule was used to collect data. The interview schedule included questions relating to mixed ability classes, learners with learning problems, outcomes based education, problems experienced by educators in their classroom practices and the ways of coping with such problems. School, educator and classroom resource profiles were also used in the study to gather information that might be useful in the discussion of the findings. The research sites were three Primary Schools at Mpophomeni Township. In these schools there were eleven grade one educators who formed the population from which a sample of six educators was randomly selected. Three of the six educators who formed the sample were interviewed and observed while the other three were only interviewed. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed for data analysis, which was done descriptively. The findings of the study revealed that educators had problems when they were dealing with the content, assignments, assessment and resources and when they discipline learners. It also revealed that most of the problems were due to the introduction of curriculum 2005 in grade one in 1998, and the fact that educators were not trained to teach learners experiencing learning barriers. The study concluded that insufficient in-service training and the introduction of curriculum 2005 were the main causes of educators' problems, and a call to recontextualise the learning environment, which includes educators and the context in which they teach, was made.


Thesis (M.Ed.) - University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2001.


Mixed ability grouping., Inclusive education., Mainstreaming., Theses--Education.