Deaf learners in inclusive education

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CURRICULUM ADAPTATIONS AND MODIFICATIONS

INTRODUCTION

The previous chapter addressed the concept of deafness and reviewed the literature consulted concerning the manifestations of deafness. The situation regarding inclusion of deaf learners in unique South African context was also discussed.
Chapter 3 presents a discussion of effective curriculum adaptations for deaf learners in Grade 8 for the learning areas Social Science, Mathematics and English Home Language, which are closely linked to other disciplines. Social Science is linked to Natural Science, English Home Language is linked to Life Orientation and Second or Additional Language (Afrikaans or isiZulu), Mathematics is linked to Economic and Management Sciences as well as Natural Science. The need to adapt the curriculum in inclusive classrooms is currently widespread and involves careful decision-making by educators. At present the Department of Basic Education does not provide educators in mainstream schools with practical examples based on the curriculum, for example, in a workbook format. Therefore, in the light of inclusive education there is a need for educators to have worked out practical examples that they can use to assist deaf learners in mainstream schools. These examples may especially help those educators who are not adequately trained to be less overwhelmed by all the challenges. The discussion begins by addressing the concept “curriculum”, which leads to an exposition of the implementations of the new curriculum, which is now combined in a single document known as Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). Thereafter, the general aims of the South African curriculum are discussed.
Adapting the curriculum involves differentiating instruction to provide learners with a variety of ways to process information and demonstrate what they have learned, in order to « match » the way in which each learner learns most effectively (Bashinski 2002:1). Effective curriculum adaptations for deaf learners which include four primary categories (content, instructional strategies, instructional materials and assessment) are examined in detail.

CURRICULUM

According to Power and Leigh (2003:38), the term curriculum is used frequently by almost everyone with an interest in education but often with little agreement on its meaning. Often curriculum is narrowly considered as being only the syllabus or other documents that shape teaching processes and content. Alternatively, curriculum can be seen broadly as being everything that happens in schools.
The curriculum is more than a mere document or syllabus; it is much more than a collection of predetermined learning objectives and experiences. Curriculum refers not only to those elements, but also to the actual effects on the learning of a variety of planned and unplanned arrangements and the interactions between participants in the educational process (Power & Leigh 2003:38).
Bertram, Fotheringham and Harley (2000:3) emphasise that a curriculum could further be understood in the following two ways: “firstly, as a plan (which may be written in a document). This plan reflects the knowledge, skills and attitudes that any society chooses to pass on their children.” In their view curriculum should secondly be seen as the learning and teaching experiences that happen in any site of education.
According to UNESCO (2004:13), the curriculum is what is learned and what is taught (context); how it is delivered (teaching-learning method); how it is assessed (examinations, for example); and the resources (e.g., books used to deliver and support teaching and learning). The curriculum has many meanings. A formal curriculum is often referred to as planned learning experiences and can include the content to be learned as prescribed by the authority. An informal curriculum is an unplanned curriculum, the interactions and experiences that happen daily in the classrooms. A hidden curriculum is about attitudes and beliefs that are attached to what educators learn and teach. Thorough assessment of participation and learning progress at home, at school and in the community will determine the strengths that can be developed and the supports that need to be in place in order to make the curriculum accessible to each and every child (Bornman & Rose 2010:43).

Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS)

According to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, a new South African curriculum has been implemented within a five-year period from 2010 to 2014 to replace both Curriculum 2005 and the Revised National Curriculum Statement. It is intended to replace the Outcomes-based Education (OBE) curriculum with one that will provide systematic support to educators to strengthen their teaching while at the same time relieving educators from their current high administrative burden (Bornman & Rose 2010:243).
The minister’s remarks were precipitated by the report on the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement in South African schools (Report of the Task Team for the Review of the Implementation of the National Curriculum Statement). The report found that educators were confused, overloaded, stressed and demotivated, and as a consequence, were underperforming (Department of Education 2011a:14).
According to the Curriculum News of May 2011 (Department of Education 2011a:14), the report detailed a number of recommendations for addressing and improving the situation. These included:

  • Producing one clear and accessible policy document;
  • Writing a more streamlined curriculum;
  • Reverting to subjects and essential subject knowledge;
  • Ensuring there  is progression  and  continuity across grades;
  • Standardising assessment.

As the result of ongoing implementation challenges, the two National Curriculum Statements, for Grades R-9 and Grades 10-12 respectively, are combined in a single document and will simply be known as the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12. The National Curriculum Statement for Grades R-12 becomes effective from 2012, and builds on the previous curriculum but also updates it and aims to provide clearer specifications of what is to be taught and learnt on a term-by-term basis.

General aims of the South African Curriculum

According to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Department of Education 2011b:3), the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 gives expression to the knowledge, skills and values worth learning in South African schools. This curriculum aims to ensure that learners acquire and apply knowledge and skills in ways that are meaningful to their own lives. In this regard, the curriculum promotes knowledge in local contexts, while being sensitive to global imperatives.
The National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 serves the purposes of The Department of Basic Education by:

  • Equipping learners, irrespective of their socio-economic background, race, gender, physical ability or intellectual ability, with the knowledge, skills and values necessary for self-fulfilment, and meaningful participation in society as citizens of a free country;
  • Providing access to higher education;
  • Facilitating the transition of learners from education institutions to the workplace;
  • Providing employers with an adequate profile of a learner’s competences (The Department of Education 2011b:3).

The National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 is based on the following principles:

  • Social transformation. Ensuring that the educational imbalances of the past are redressed, and that equal educational opportunities are provided for all sections of the population;
  • Active and critical learning. Encouraging an active and critical approach to learning, rather than rote and uncritical learning of given truths;
  • High knowledge and high skills. Specifying the minimum standards of knowledge and skills to be achieved in each grade and setting high, achievable standards in all subjects;
  • Progression: Showing the progression of context for each grade from simple to complex;
  • Human rights, inclusivity, environmental and social justice: Sensitising learners to the principles and practices of social and environmental justice and human rights as defined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that include diversity issues such as poverty, inequality, race, gender, language, age, and disability to which the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 is sensitive.
  • Valuing indigenous knowledge systems: Acknowledging the rich history and heritage of the Republic of South Africa as important contributors to nurturing the values contained in the Constitution;
  • Credibility, quality and efficiency: Providing an education that is comparable in quality, breadth and depth to those of other countries (Department of Education 2011b:3).
    The National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 (Department of Education 2011b:4) also highlights that inclusivity should become a central part of the organisation, planning and teaching at each school. This can only happen if all educators have a sound understanding of how to recognise and address deafness as a barrier to learning, and how to plan for diversity, including the execution of curriculum adaptations.
    The key to managing inclusivity is ensuring that deafness is identified and addressed by all the relevant support structures within the school community, including educators, District-Based Support Teams, Institutional-Level Support Teams, parents and Special Schools as Resource Centres. To address the barrier such as deafness in the classroom, educators should use various curriculum differentiation strategies such as those included in the Guidelines for Inclusive Teaching and Learning of the Department of Basic Education (Department of Education 2011b:4).

CURRICULUM DIFFERENTIATION AND ADAPTATION

According to the Department of Education (2002:137), key concepts of the curriculum include the style and tempo of teaching and learning, what is taught, the way the classroom is managed and organised, as well as materials and equipment which are used in the learning and teaching process. Therefore, flexibility could be regarded as a key component of the curriculum.
The Guidelines for Inclusive Teaching and Learning (Department of Education 2010:10) explore the two key curriculum processes of curriculum adaptation and curriculum differentiation. Adaptation is presented as a strategy for ensuring effective curriculum delivery to all learners, particularly learners with disabilities. Differentiation is presented as a key strategy to cater for the different levels of ability, and to mitigate the effects of various barriers to learning. Adaptation refers broadly to modification and/or adjustment of lessons, activities and materials to make them suitable for different learner needs.

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTORY ORIENTATION AND STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 AIM OF THE RESEARCH
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1.6 DEMARCATION OF THE STUDY
1.7 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.8 THE STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY
1.9 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 2 DEAF LEARNERS IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 DEFINITION OF DEAFNESS
2.3 CLINICAL FEATURES OF DEAFNESS
2.4 LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION CHOICES
2.5 ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
2.6 THE NEEDS OF DEAF LEARNERS IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
2.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3 CURRICULUM ADAPTATIONS AND MODIFICATIONS
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 CURRICULUM
3.3 CURRICULUM DIFFERENTIATION AND ADAPTATION
3.4 ADAPTING THE CURRICULUM FOR DEAF LEARNERS
3.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH DESING AND METHOD
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
4.3 SAMPLING
4.4 DATA GATHERING PROCEDURES
4.5 PILOT STUDY
4.6 DATA ANALYSIS
4.7 VALIDATION PROCEDURES
4.8 ETHICAL ISSUES
4.9 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 DESCRIPTION OF PARTICIPANTS
5.3 REPRESENTATION OF QUANTITATIVE DATA
5.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6 SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND INFERENCES
6.3 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
6.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.5 CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Guidelines to Curriculum Adaptations to support deaf learners in Inclusive Secondary Schools

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