But would it Work here? Inclusive Practices in the South African Context

By Elizabeth Walton.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research has shown that South African teachers need knowledge and skills for the practical implementation of inclusive education. With the assumption that inclusive schools will reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, teachers are expected to ensure that the learning needs of all learners, including those who experience barriers to learning, would be met in ordinary (as opposed to separate or special) classrooms. Much as the international experience of inclusion can inform local practice, South Africa’s unique historical, socio-economic and educational context will determine how inclusion is implemented in this country. South African teachers can learn much from inclusive practices that have been shown to be successful in the developed and developing world, but have to work with the challenges and opportunities of the post-apartheid classroom. Key inclusive strategies, such as training, differentiation, collaboration and modification can and must be made relevant in South African schools. Guided by local policy and legislation, teachers not only have to employ class-wide strategies that acknowledge diversity, but also need to provide the support necessary to allow individual learners who experience barriers to learning to succeed. By using authentic classroom examples and the national education department’s ‘Guidelines for Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support’, teachers and members of institution level support teams can be assisted to ensure quality teaching and learning relevant to all their learners

Keywords: Inclusive Education, Barriers to Learning, Diversity, Learning Needs

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp.105-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 746.403KB).

Dr. Elizabeth Walton

Principal, The King’s School, South Africa

Elizabeth was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. After matriculating, she completed undergraduate studies and a teaching diploma at Wits University, qualifying as a high school English and History teacher. After some years of teaching in a state and an independent school, she was appointed as one of the principals of The King’s School Robin Hills, an independent school of 720 learners. She has responsibility for realising the school’s values of ‘academic excellence’ and ‘maximising the potential of every learner’. As such she leads curriculum development and the implementation of the outcomes-based National Curriculum; manages and conducts staff training; and keeps abreast of educational policy and trends both in South Africa and internationally. With the introduction of inclusive education in South Africa, Elizabeth commenced part-time post-graduate studies through UNISA and completed a D.Ed in Inclusive Education. She has been involved in the practical implementation of inclusion at The King’s School and has addressed various groups of teachers and education managers on different aspects of inclusive education. She is committed to the professional development of teachers and is keen to see them become “lifelong learners”. She is married to Grant and has three children.


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