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CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The present study sought to assess the factors affecting the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools. The previous chapter outlined the problem and its context. This chapter reviewed related international literature on the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools in Zimbabwe with reference to the Ecological System theory that informed the study. The literature is presented under the following subheadings derived from the research questions: the influence of teachers‘ training on the implementation of inclusive education for learners with learning disabilities in primary schools, material resources on the implementation of inclusive education for learners with learning disabilities and the attitudes of stakeholders in the implementation of inclusive education for learners with disabilities. In addition, it focused on the policy/legislation for the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools. The sub-headings are derived from the sub-research questions of the study. Gaps to be filled in by the present study were highlighted.
In the subsequent section, literature on the teachers‘ training and the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary school is presented.
TEACHERS’ TRAINING AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Teachers are perceived to be integral to the implementation of inclusive education (Haskell, 2000:3). Research communicates the view that teachers are the key to the success of inclusionary programmes (Cant, 1994:40; Tshifura, 2012:116) as they are viewed as lynchpins in the process of including students with learning disabilities into regular classes (Whiting & Young, 1995:30). Other studies acknowledge that inclusive education can only be successful if teachers are part of the team driving this process (Malone, Gallagher & Long, 2001:580). If teachers in mainstream and special education want to implement inclusion within their classrooms, they need to know when to consult or instruct and also how to collaborate or operate independently. The Ecological System theory says that a system should operate in different, but interrelated, levels in constant dynamic interaction with other parts of the system. In keeping with the theory, classroom teachers have to act as facilitators of a network of support around a particular child. In this process, the teacher, while preventing the alienation and discrimination of any child in the class, must, at the same time, keep the focus firmly on the child‘s social and learning needs.
The classroom teachers must also be able to relate to parents and facilitate positive relationships between learners and even, if necessary, between parents and children (Stofile & Green, 2007:62). In South Africa, research by Tshifura (2012:116) revealed that teachers were not adequately trained to implement inclusive education. While the teachers were well qualified, they did not have the expertise to deal with learning disabilities in their classrooms. In a similar vein, Engelbrecht and Green (2001:19) maintain that it is incompetently trained teachers who negatively affect the implementation of inclusive education for children with disabilities in South Africa together with a dearth of a positive teaching and learning culture. In Zambia, the study by Aro and Ahonen (2011:32) found that practicing teachers in inclusive primary schools had poor reading and grammar skills, weak elicitation techniques, limited vocabulary, as well as limited abilities to adequately assist children with learning disabilities. These challenges do not create a welcoming environment for learners with disabilities in schools; instead, they contribute to the barriers to learning for children with learning disabilities (Stofile & Green, 2007:55). In Zimbabwe, Mavundukure and Nyamande (2012:2) maintain that most teachers in special schools and special classes in Zimbabwe have no specific training to teach learners with disabilities and other special educational needs. Chireshe (2013:226) also concluded that most teachers were perceived to be lacking training in inclusive education regardless of the fact that universities and teachers‘ training colleges in Zimbabwe are training teachers in special needs education. In view of the above literature, the present study would like to establish whether teachers‘ training is a factor that affects the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools in Zimbabwe.
Researchers note that teachers may resist the implementation of inclusive education for children with disabilities, such as hearing impairment and physical disabilities, because of inadequate training (Heiman, 2001:453; Hines & Johnston, 1996:7; Musengi & Chireshe, 2012:231; Pottas 2005:62). Other researchers in Botswana (Mukhopadhyay, 2013:76; Dart, 2007:63) and Swaziland (Fakudze, 2012:68) have focused on the implementation of inclusive education for children with mental retardation and visual impairment and maintain that the majority of the teachers interviewed for those studies had not been trained in inclusive education whilst undergoing their initial teacher training. This, they believe, explains their lack of clear and precise knowledge of inclusive education.
While the above literature review focuses on the unpreparedness of teachers to teach children with disabilities such as hearing impairment, mental retardation and visual impairment, this study did not focus on such disabilities but sought to establish whether lack of appropriate training in teaching children with learning disabilities affects the implementation of inclusive education for such children in Zimbabwean primary schools.
It would appear that teachers perceive themselves as unprepared for inclusive education for children with learning disabilities because they lack appropriate training in this area (Daane, Beirne-Smith & Latham, 2000:333; Malone et al, 2001:583). Inadequate training relating to the implementation of inclusive education for learners with learning disabilities may result in lowered teacher confidence as they plan for inclusive education (Schumm, Vaughn, Gordon & Rothlein, 1994:25). In support of this view, Dagnew (2013:61) maintains that teachers must be both competent and confident in their teaching ability in inclusive settings. In tandem with the Ecological System theory which specifies that a part of a system has to fully function in relation to other parts of the system in order for the system to survive, the teacher must be fully skilled and competent to ensure that the learner with learning disabilities reaches his or her highest potential. Because the teachers are responsible for any adaptation that may be necessary for students‘ success in the learning environment, consequently, these teachers must have skills to develop and adapt curricula to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities in their classrooms. Guerin and Male (2006:4) argue that the lack of qualified special education teachers in South Africa has led to poor instruction, poor classroom management coupled with the lack of knowledge about the learning disabilities experienced by learners and the general decrease in quality instruction. The present study sought to establish whether the above scenario also applied in Zimbabwean primary schools.
In South Africa, teachers who have not undertaken training regarding the inclusion of learners with learning disabilities may exhibit negative attitudes toward such inclusion (Van Reusen, Shoho & Barker, 2001:10; Landsberg, Krüger & Nel, 2005:455) while, on the contrary, increased training may be associated with more positive attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities (Briggs, Johnson, Shepherd & Sedbrook, 2002:86). Training in the field of special education in the United Kingdom appears to enhance understanding and improve attitudes regarding the inclusion of children with learning disabilities in primary schools (Powers, 2002:236). The present study sought to establish if the above applied to Zimbabwe.
Mkhuma (2012:35) argues that the structure of teacher training in South Africa consisted of programmes or qualifications for general education and qualifications for remedial education for children with learning disabilities. In addition, Bothma, Gravette and Swart (2000:201) point out that the challenge facing many South African teachers is that they have not been trained to cope with the diversity of learners now entering schools. Currently, there are few teachers who have undergone formal training in inclusive education. In Zimbabwe, research by Musengi and Chireshe (2012:230) revealed that teachers admitted to not having the skills to practice individualistic instruction in class and lacked appropriate training in inclusive education which would assist them in helping children with learning disabilities in their classes. Teachers who have not undertaken training regarding the inclusion of children with learning disabilities may exhibit negative attitudes towards inclusion of children with learning disabilities.
From this view of related literature, the present study sought to establish the impact of teachers‘ training in the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools in Zimbabwe. This has been done using the quantitative approach to research in order to establish, confirm and validate relationships and develop generalisations to other schools and educational provinces in line with the Ecological Systems theory which advocates for the cooperation of different levels of the system in order for the system to survive.
The lack of skills, knowledge and tools to identify children with learning disabilities has a serious negative impact on the provision of effective teaching and support in the classroom (Mkhuma, 2012:35). Teachers often depend on their intuition that something is wrong with a certain learner or they make an incorrect identification which only becomes apparent when they differ on whether such a learner requires extra support or not. Other teachers carelessly label learners as ―lazy‖, ―naughty‖ or ―slow‖ and further assign any failure to their parents‘ socio-economic status (Khoele, 2008:64; Ntsanwisi, 2008:1). Research by Ntsanwisi (2008:89) observed and concluded that some teachers, having failed to identify children with learning disabilities, have labelled and still continue to label learners who experience barriers to learning as slow learners, mental retards, behaviourally disordered, crippled, emotionally disturbed and so forth.
In South Africa, failure to identify children with learning disabilities in a learning-teaching situation affects the implementation of inclusive education in schools (Ntsanwisi, 2008:100). Dart (2007:63), Khan (2012:109) and Mukhopadhyay (2013:77) concur with the view regarding the lack of skills to identify the needs of children with disabilities in an inclusive setup. They noted that teachers who participated in their studies reported frustration at their own lack of skills to identify the needs of children with learning disabilities. The current study sought to assess whether lack of skills to identify children with learning disabilities affects the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools in Zimbabwe.
Some teachers may not have the skills and knowledge to identify different forms of learning disabilities (Khoele, 2008:64). The lack of knowledge to identify different forms of learning disabilities for students in primary schools requires that teachers acquire basic theoretical knowledge and practical skills to identify the learning disabilities. According to Mpya (2007:46), the teachers‘ limited knowledge about learning disabilities may create problems in the identification of students who experience barriers to learning in primary schools. In addition, some teachers may be willing to undergo training in inclusive education but are afraid of demands that the work would impose on them in the classroom learning situation (Mpya, 2007:47).
Qualitative research conducted by Hay, Smit and Paulsen (2001:213) shows that some teachers in South Africa lack the knowledge about inclusive education and are unprepared and unequipped to teach in inclusive classrooms due to their lack of training and lack of experience (Pottas, 2005:64). Fear of not being able to manage diversity resulted in feelings of hopelessness and in learners being referred for assessments by specialists and placements in special programmes (Swart et al, 2002:183). The findings by Pottas (2005:64) are supported by the findings by Mukhopadhyay (2013:77) who noted that, in Botswana, teachers found it difficult to teach learners with learning disabilities due to a lack of training. Learners with learning disabilities need special attention and normally work at their own pace. Data collected by Mukhopadhyay (2013:77) suggested that adequate training in inclusive education was a critical prerequisite for teachers to function effectively in order to implement inclusive education successfully. The present study sought to establish if the above South African and Botswana scenarios are applicable to Zimbabwe. This has been done using the quantitative approach, instead of the qualitative approach to research, in order to yield explanations and predictions for generalisation with as much accuracy and precision as possible.
Florian and Rouse (2010:190) argue that most mainstream teachers in developing countries, such as Botswana, do not believe that they have the skills or knowledge to teach learners with learning disabilities because they have not taken a specialist course. Furthermore, they may believe that there are experts ―out there‖ to teach those children with learning disabilities on a one-to-one basis and therefore it is not their responsibility to teach them (Dart, 2007:62). This type of thinking becomes a barrier to inclusive education as developing effective inclusive practices is not only about extending teachers‘ knowledge but also about encouraging them to do things differently and getting them to reconsider their attitudes and beliefs about children with barriers and their schooling (Mukhopadhyay et al, 2012:9). The current study sought to establish whether the belief by mainstream teachers that there are experts―out there‖ to teach children with learning disabilities on a one-to-one basis affects the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning disabilities in primary schools in Zimbabwe.
Inadequate knowledge with regard to instructional techniques and curricular adaptations which contributes to decreased confidence, may influence the implementation of inclusive education in schools (Lesar, Brenner, Habel & Coleman, 1997:208). The teachers in inclusive schools need to be trained in teaching methods that are child-centred and in the use of active and participative learning techniques that improve their confidence and capacity to teach children both with and without learning disabilities (Eloff & Kgwete, 2007:353). In tandem with the Ecological System theory which argues that diverse needs of learners must be recognised and supported by involving the family, the school environment and the community, the acquisition of collaborative and participative techniques by teachers that involve the family and environment not only enhances learning outcomes, but also reduces prejudice and discrimination among children (Briggs et al, 2002:87).
Florian and Rouse (2010:190) also noted that the acquisition of appropriate teaching methods and participative techniques by mainstream teachers in inclusive learning environments enhances learning outcomes for learners with disabilities. Teachers who have not been trained in teaching methods such as the use of computerised equipment necessary for the teaching of children with disabilities in an inclusive environment, may exhibit negative attitudes towards the use of such teaching aids in their lessons (Dart, 2007:63; Subban & Sharma, 2005:4). Research by Dart (2007:64) revealed that, in primary schools in Botswana where there is access to computers for use by children with disabilities, the teachers without the necessary skills to use the computers did not feel competent enough to use them for teaching children with special needs. Teachers acquire increased competence as a result of increased training in the field of inclusive education (Avramidis, Bayliss & Burden, 2000:198; Forlin, 2006:103). In view of the above literature, the present study sought to establish whether the teachers‘ acquisition of appropriate teaching methods may affect the implementation of inclusive education for children with learning
CHAPTER 1: THE PROBLEM AND ITS CONTEXT
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.4 SUB-RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.6 RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.8 THEORATICAL FRAMEWORK
1.12 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1.13 PROGRAMME OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.2 TEACHERS‘ TRAINING AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
2.3 MATERIAL RESOURCES AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
2.4 ATTITUDES OF STAKEHOLDERS AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
2.5 POLICY/LEGISLATION AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.2 RESEARCH PARADIGM
3.3 THE RESEARCH DESIGN
3.7 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
3.8 TRAINING OF RESEARCH ASSISTANCE
3.9 PILOT STUDY.
3.10 DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURE: MAIN STUDY .
3.12 ETHICAL CONSIDERATION .
CHAPTER 4: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.2 BIOGRAPHICAL VARIABLES OF THE RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS
4.3 THE INFLUENCE OF PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS‘ TRAINING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
4.4 MATERIAL RESOURCES AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
4.5 ATTITUDES OF STAKEHOLDERS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
4.6 POLICY AND LEGISLATION IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR LEARNERS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
4.7 STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
4.8 DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS .
CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.2 A REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
5.3 SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS
5.5 CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY .
5.7 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY .
5.8 FINAL COMMENTS
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