Original Research

Learning support strategies for learners with neurodevelopmental disorders: Perspectives of recently qualified teachers

Amarachi J. Yoro, Jean V. Fourie, Martyn van der Merwe
African Journal of Disability | Vol 9 | a561 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v9i0.561 | © 2020 Amarachi J. Yoro, Jean V. Fourie, Martyn van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 August 2018 | Published: 06 February 2020

About the author(s)

Amarachi J. Yoro, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jean V. Fourie, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Martyn van der Merwe, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Inclusive education envisages the improvement of the quality of education for all learners. This further implies that schools must adjust all systems of teaching and learning to accommodate all learners regardless of their diverse needs. The reduction of educational inequalities through inclusive practices is aimed at supporting the accomplishment of academic outcomes for all. Learners presenting with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) place specific requirements on teachers, particularly when they find themselves in mainstream classrooms.

Objectives: This study focused on the learning support strategies used by recently qualified teachers in accommodating learners with NDDs in mainstream classrooms in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

Method: A qualitative approach was used to explore the support strategies used by recently qualified teachers in mainstream classrooms when dealing with learners with NDDs. Purposive sampling was used to select six recently qualified teachers from different mainstream classroom. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, observations and critical incident reports.

Results: The findings revealed that teachers employ a variety of support strategies such as cooperative learning, peer learning, ability grouping, extensive visual aids and curriculum differentiation in an attempt to support learners. The support provided by the teachers was evident in their performance as learners with NDD were able to learn and understand the lessons irrespective for their barrier to learning.

Conclusion: Contrary to literature findings that teachers do not support learners with diverse needs because of lack of skills, training and knowledge, this study revealed that recently qualified teachers employ a variety of support strategies to support learners with NDDs. However, it appeared that these support strategies were rather general teaching and learning strategies. More support strategies should be applied to help learners with NDD in the mainstream classroom.


Keywords

inclusive education; neurodevelopmental disorders; recently qualified teachers; mainstream classroom; qualitative research

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