Factors contributing to mainstream educators' reluctance to teach included learners with specific learning difficulties
Dinkebogile, Sebaetseng Maria
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Many learners in South Africa experience special learning needs. Learners are more inclined to experience problems in learning due to poverty, underdevelopment, lack of access to basic services and parental unemployment (Lomofsky & Lazarus, 2001:311). The two main types of special learning needs are learning disabilities and learning difficulties. In this study, the focus is on learning difficulties. Learners with learning difficulties show a discrepancy between intelligence and performance. They may score high on IQ tests but perform poorly in class activities. Educators identify learners with specific learning difficulties in class when a learner is unable to read, write, spell words correctly, manipulate numbers, and has emotional and communication difficulties. Learning difficulties can be addressed should a learner be identified early and effective remedial intervention be administered. In the past learners with special learning needs were excluded from the mainstream schools and accommodated in special schools where resources such as psychologists, remedial, occupational and speech therapists were made available. The introduction of inclusive education made it possible for learners with special learning needs to be accommodated in mainstream schools. Mainstream educators are expected to support inclusive education with little knowledge and experience in teaching learners with and without special learning needs in one class. Many mainstream educators are reluctant to teach learners with learning difficulties. This study was undertaken to determine why this should be so. A survey of 180 mainstream educators teaching included learners suggests that educators may be reluctant because of incomplete knowledge regarding learners with learning difficulties, negative attitudes to such learners and negative perception of inclusion.
- Education