Exploring effective teaching strategies for foundation phase teachers in mainstream primary schools to effect inclusive education
Inclusive education has been adopted worldwide in order to provide effective and inclusive teaching to all learners, including those who experience barriers to learning in mainstream schools. Teachers are central in this change in ensuring that all learners are accommodated in the inclusive classroom. However, little evidence is available in the South African context about effective teaching strategies and precisely how they are applied in the inclusive classroom, while still guaranteeing quality education. The purpose of this study was to explore effective inclusive Foundation Phase teaching strategies in mainstream primary schools that could benefit every learner in an inclusive education setting. Teaching strategies in the context of this study were not limited to strategies for learning, teaching and assessing content but included classroom management, creating positive learning environments, ensuring participation, selecting resources, modifying the curriculum and creating opportunities for collaborating with colleagues and parents. In addition, enrichment exercises, group work, peer teaching and a degree of fun were also considered. A qualitative research design including open questionnaires, individual semi-structured interviews, document analysis and classroom observations as data collection instruments were employed. Content and constant comparative data analysis was used to analyse data inductively as well as deductively. Twenty participants were drawn from five private and public mainstream primary schools in the East Sedibeng district through purposive sampling. Findings indicated that a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic barriers exist in the classrooms resulting in diverse learning needs. Essentially it was found that the participants in this study used various teaching strategies, including different teaching methods, to address these diverse learning needs. These various teaching strategies mostly focused on a learner-centered approach, although direct teaching, and particularly repetition, was also believed by the participants to be important teaching methods. Critically, a positive and accommodating classroom atmosphere was found to be vital in ensuring the successful application of different teaching strategies to address a diversity of learning needs in the classroom. Good classroom management and the creative use of resources were noticed as important to allow for the implementation of effective teaching strategies. In general learners who seemed to experience barriers to learning were accommodated through curriculum and assessment modifications as well as individual support.
- Education