An exploration of foundation phase teachers’ understanding and implemementation [sic] of the inclusive education: experiences of school-based support teams in Ilembe District.
Mabaso, Nomagugu Mafungwase.
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South Africa has a history to have a large number of children who do not attend school because they are physically or intellectually impaired . In the apartheid era pre-1994, access to special schools was limited. Apartheid special schools that accommodated white learners were extremely well-resourced, whereas the few schools for black learners were under-resourced. When the new democratic government came to power in 1994, it sought out to redress the past imbalances and provide educational opportunities to all learners, particularly those who experience or have experienced barriers to learning and development. An inclusive education system was thus established as the foundation for an integrated education and training system. It was against this background that the study aimed to investigate the knowledge that Foundation Phase teachers have of the concept of inclusive education and the application of its principles in classroom practices. I thus wanted to find out if teachers in this phase were using that knowledge to address the challenges that they faced each day when teaching learners with learning barriers. I utilised a qualitative approach and employed an interpretive paradigm. This case study involved two School-Based Support Teams in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with six Foundation Phase teachers. I analysed the Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support document to understand how the participants planned and supported learners. The findings revealed that the teachers possessed adequate knowledge of inclusive education and that they did their utmost best to practise inclusivity by ensuring the participation of all learners. I also found that these teachers experienced numerous challenges such as limited information about some aspects of and policies on Inclusive Education, working in an environment that was not conducive towards teaching learners with barriers, a high number of learners with diverse needs in one classroom, and a lack of appropriate teaching aids. There was evidence relating to the participants receiving assistance from various stakeholders, such as their School Management Teams, the District Based Support Team, the School-Based Support Teams, and other departments such as the Health Department and the Safety Department. The Screening, Identification Assessment and Support (SIAS) documents and forms were analysed.