Original Research

Teachers’ engagement with learners in inclusive foundation phase classrooms

Vera A. Skae, Bruce J.L. Brown, Pamela D. Wilmot
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a873 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.873 | © 2020 Skae Skae, Bruce Brown, Pamela Dianne Wilmot | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 May 2020 | Published: 17 December 2020

About the author(s)

Vera A. Skae, Department of Education, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Bruce J.L. Brown, Department of Education, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Pamela D. Wilmot, Department of Education, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The research study responded to the need for a deeper understanding of the engagement of foundation phase teachers with learners in our ordinary, public, primary school classrooms in South Africa and the extent to which classroom practices are inclusive.

Aim: To examine how inclusive education was enacted by teachers in real classroom settings, with attention paid to ways in which learners experience barriers to learning and the provision of necessary support for these learners.

Setting: This study provides an in-depth critical analysis of the engagement of three foundation phase teachers from classes in each of Grades 1–3, with learners in their classrooms at an Eastern Cape public school.

Methods: A micro-level analysis was conducted in a single unit case study, using a qualitative research approach in an interpretive paradigm. Questionnaires, in-depth observations and semi-structured interviews generates in-depth data.

Results: The study provides evidence of inclusive education practices enacted at the school and in the classrooms, providing examples of what can work in the South African context. It includes an organisational tool for analysing inclusive practice at the micro-level of the classroom. Criteria were identified as indicators of inclusive education of learners in the classroom, including those experiencing barriers to learning.

Conclusion: The three foundation phase teachers used numerous inclusive teaching and learning practices, strategies, features, skills and techniques when engaging with learners in their classrooms. There remain various challenges faced by the school, teachers and the Department of Basic Education in enabling the implementation of inclusive education.


Keywords

public school classroom; foundation phase teacher; inclusive education practices; barriers to learning; micro-level

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