Conceptualising special needs teacher training programmes in South Africa

Dr Jean Fourie and Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige presented a paper at the EduLearn Conference, in Spain on 3 July 2018, entitled, ‘Conceptualising teacher training programmes that focus on supporting learners with special needs in schools’

Training of specialist teachers who educate learners with special needs poses challenges in the diverse South African context. Teachers require skilful competence to identify, assess and support learners with special needs. In conceptualising teacher training programs the continual tensions between the deficit, medical-based approach and an inclusive, systemic paradigm are considered. Conflicting notions of differentiating the curriculum, adapting classroom practices an individualising learning plans are considered in the training program. Deliberations included the functioning of multi-disciplinary teams, the roles of professionals and parental involvement.  Designing effective teacher training programmes is essential in meeting the multi-faceted needs of special needs learners in South African schools.