Good in theory but not in practice : exploring perspectives on inclusive education

De Winnaar, Mariska (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The introduction of inclusive education in the South African educational system may be seen as one of the first steps to promote equality and human rights in post-apartheid South Africa. With the implementation of inclusive education, education became less segregated and fragmented, with the aim of ensuring equal learning opportunities for all children, including those with disabilities. The main driving force of inclusive education in South Africa is the Education White Paper 6 on Special Needs Education: Building an inclusive education and training system published in 2001. The aim of this study was to understand inclusive education from the perspectives of those who are charged with the implementation thereof. Classroom educators (teachers) together with district-based support teams are seen as the primary resource for achieving the goal of an inclusive education and training system. This study focused on the perspectives of teachers from one primary and one secondary school in one education district (Education District A) and District-based support team members from another education district (Education District B) in the Western Cape. The study takes on a social constructionist paradigm and illustrates how our understanding and conceptualisation of disability have changed overtime. A social constructionist paradigm highlights the way in which disability is a socially constructed and how it changes according to our understanding thereof. The different models of disability and the role of education was also a main focus of this study. A qualitative research design was used, with purposive and opportunity sampling being applied. Data was gathered using focus groups and in-depth semi-structured interviews and was analysed using thematic analysis. The key findings of this study showed that the teachers and district-based support team members believe that inclusive education can be successful in South Africa provided that changes are made in how it is currently conceptualised and implemented. The teachers have a very different perspective on inclusive education from the support team members. The teachers believe that the success of inclusive education can only be ensured if barriers to teaching are prevented or eradicated, while the support team members believe the success of inclusive education depends on the identification and prevention of barriers to learning. Both groups do however believe that inclusive education is a very good ideal to strive towards but that it has not yet been achieved and that the inclusion and education of all learners are of great importance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die bekendstelling van inklusiewe onderwys in die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysstelsel kan gesien word as een van die eerste stappe om gelykheid en menseregte in post-apartheid Suid-Afrika te bevorder. Met die implementering van inklusiewe onderwys het die onderwysstelsel meer toeganklik en minder gefragmenteerd geword. Die doel van inklusiewe onderwys is om te verseker dat alle kinders, ook dié met gestremdhede, gelyke leergeleenthede kry. Die belangrikste dryfkrag agter inklusiewe onderwys in Suid-Afrika is die Onderwys Witskrif 6 oor Spesiale Onderwys: Die bou van 'n inklusiewe onderwys-en opleidingstelsel wat in 2001 gepubliseer is. Die doel van hierdie studie was om inklusiewe onderwys vanuit die perspektiewe van diegene wat dit moet implementeer te verstaan. Klaskamer opvoeders (onderwysers) asook distrikgebaseerde kringondersteuningspanne word gesien as die primêre bronne vir die bereiking van 'n inklusiewe onderwys-en opleidingstelsel. Hierdie studie het op die perspektiewe van onderwysers, van een primêre en een sekondêre skool in een onderwysdistrik (Onderwysdistrik A), en kringondersteuningspanlede, van ʼn tweede onderwysdistrik (Onderwysdistrik B), in die Wes-Kaap gefokus. Die studie neem 'n sosiale konstruktivistiese paradigma aan en illustreer hoe ons begrip en definiëring van gestremdheid oor tyd verander het. 'n Sosiale konstruktivistiese paradigma beklemtoon die manier waarop gestremdheid sosiaal gekonstrueer is en hoe dit verander volgens hoe ons begrip daarvan verander. Die verskillende modelle van gestremdheid en die rol van onderwys was ook 'n hooffokus van hierdie studie. 'n Kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp is gebruik, doelgerigte steekproefneming en geleentheid-steekproefneming was toegepas om die deelnemers te kies. Data is ingesamel deur middel van fokusgroepe en in-diepte semigestruktureerde onderhoude en is ontleed deur gebruik te maak van tematiese analise. Die belangrikste bevindings van hierdie studie was dat die onderwysers en distrikgebaseerde kringondersteuningspanlede van mening is dat inklusiewe onderwys slegs in Suid-Afrika suksesvol kan wees mits daar veranderinge gemaak word in hoe ons dit tans konseptualiseer en implementeer. Die onderwysers se perspektief van inklusiewe onderwys verskil heelwat van die perspektiewe van die kringondersteuningspanlede. Die onderwysers is van mening dat van inklusiewe onderwys slegs verseker sal wees indien hindernisse wat onderrig verhoed, voorkom of uitgewis word. Kringondersteuningspanlede is weer van mening die sukses van inklusiewe onderwys afhang van die identifisering en voorkoming van hindernisse van leer. Beide groepe is egter van mening dat inklusiewe onderwys 'n baie goeie ideaal is om na te streef, maar dat dit nog nie bereik is nie, ook dat die insluiting en opvoeding van alle leerders van groot belang is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85706
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