Exploring educators’ perceptions of the challenges facing second-language learners within the foundation phase at ex-model C schools in Pietermaritzburg.
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The South African inclusive education system seems to present with significant challenges. More specifically it appears to require interventions that are often beyond the speciality of educators and the capacity of schools. This study investigated educators’ perceptions of the challenges facing second-language learners in the Foundation Phase of ex-Model C schools. Moreover it employed a qualitative research design, using a semi-structured interview schedule, to explore this topic. Six Foundation Phase educators, who were female and of varied age and race, were recruited from selected ex-Model C schools in the Pietermaritzburg area. The findings of their individual interviews were analysed using thematic analysis and were presented alongside six central themes that emerged. The research findings highlighted concepts such as the post-apartheid development of ex-Model C schools, the significance of multiculturalism in English medium schools, language as a barrier to teaching and learning, teaching and assessment amongst linguistically diverse learners and the commonly implemented learner support strategies in ex-Model C schools in Pietermaritzburg. This study promotes the need to develop a multicultural model of education within ex-Model C schools. More specifically it recommends that future policy development and practice must provide educators with the appropriate training for the multicultural context, to ensure that they are adequately equipped to address issues of diversity; particularly in relation to culture and language. In addition, this study encourages the implementation of onsite learner support services and the development of an inter-disciplinary approach to education, particularly in ex-Model C schools. Lastly this study emphasises the need for schools to provide the opportunity for early intervention and appropriate support for all learners, including second-language learners who may experience language barriers to learning.