The educators', learners' and parents' understanding regarding inclusion
Mojaki, Tumane David
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The aims of this study were to investigate learners feelings about their inclusive classrooms; educators' observation, experiences and perceptions concerning the interaction patterns of learners in inclusive classrooms; and parents' experiences and perceptions of inclusive education. The literature review presented inclusion in education as an event for acknowledging that all children and youth can learn and that all children and youth need support; accepting and respecting the fact that all learners are different in some way and have different learning needs which are equally valued and an ordinary part of our human experience; enabling education structures, systems and learning methodologies to meet the needs of all learners; acknowledging and respecting differences in learners, whether due to age, gender, ethnicity, language, class, disability or HIV status; acknowledging, in a broader way than formal schooling, that learning also occurs in the home and community, and within formal and informal modes and structures; changing attitudes, behavior, teaching methodologies, curricula and the environment to meet the needs of all learners; maximizing the participation of all learners in the culture and the curricula of educational institutions and uncovering and minimising barriers to learning; and empowering learners by developing their individual strengths and enabling them to participate critically in the process of learning. The empirical research revealed that the majority of learner participants in this research do not like being in class with different types of learners which could mean that they would not like to be accommodated in a class with learners who are physically challenged; and had seen other learners making fun of their classmates who are physically challenged which could mean that physically unchallenged learners are inclined to deride at learners who are physically different from them because of the failure to celebrate differences. It was interesting to note from the findings of the empirical research that the majority of learners also indicated that they have learned a lot by associating with learners who are physically challenged; they have improved at tolerating fellow classmates who are physically challenged; and they are more understanding of the behaviors and feelings of the physically challenged learners which could mean that with continuous association of both physically challenged and physically unchallenged learners at the same schools, learners can learn from one another, learn to tolerate differences in physical disposition and develop more understanding of the behaviors and feelings of one another. It is also pleasing to note that the majority of educator participants reported positively about the success of inclusion in their classrooms which bodes well for the success of inclusive education in the South African school system. However, it is worrying to note that the majority of parent participants do not see the value of inclusive education for their children and still believe that their children could benefit from exclusive education which provides separate schools for learners of different abilities. On the basis of both the findings from the literature review and empirical research methods, recommendations were made.
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