The perception of school teachers on children with learning difficulties in Soweto

Bayane, Chantel Kgothatso
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This study aimed to explore the perceptions of teachers on learners with learning difficulties in one of the most impoverished communities in Soweto, South Africa. In addition to other socio-economic factors that cause educational performance to decline, learning problems and learning difficulties are an additional hindrance in the direction of obtaining educational qualifications. The study was guided by the constructivist theoretical framework, carried out using qualitative approach Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data and analysis was carried out using the thematic analysis. Three public high schools in the Soweto Township with a mix of different financial status and different home languages were included in the study. A total of fifteen teachers comprising five teachers per school participated in the study. The findings revealed that teachers with no formal preparation in working with learners with learning disabilities alleged that they were not capable enough to deal with the learners. Some teachers in this study were able to pinpoint learners who had learning difficulties; however, others were not able to. They also felt that the lack of rigid testing for distinguishing the learners with learning difficulties, was subjective and lead to their inability to identify the learners. In addition, lack of training for teachers in this area exacerbated the inability to identify and deal with learners with disabilities. The recommendations suggested a systematic instruction where both teachers and learners are supported to provide the correct level of intervention for adequate schooling. Future research should focus on investigating teaching practices pertaining to learners with learning difficulties.
A research report submitted to the Discipline of Psychology in the School of Human and Community Development in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Education (Educational Psychology) in the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand. Johannesburg, 2022