The development of the Teacher Support Team in assisting teachers of learners with special educational needs in one school in Khayelitsha
A mini thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of M.ED Psychology in the Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape. Supervisor: Mrs. Lilian Lomofsky May 2004 DECLARATION I, the undersigned, hereby declare that the work included in this research project is my own, original work and has not previously been submitted to any other University partially or in its entirety for the purpose of obtaining a degree. Moliehi Thabana Signature
... ............................................ Date .............................................. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My thanks to Almighty God who has bestowed upon me His richest blessings, so that I am able to partially understand His creation. I would like to thank God for enriching my life with the people mentioned below: o My dear supervisor, Mrs. Lilian Lomofsky, for her tireless efforts during the period of this study. She was always willing to listen and provide encouragement; we enjoyed a supportive working relationship throughout the project. o Ms Estelle Maart and Mr. Clinton Smith who provided secretarial support in the Faculty of Education. o My buddy E.Molosiwa who has been supportive at all times during this endeavo ur. o The National Research Fund (N.R.F) for the financial support and grants provided which enabled me to do research and write this thesis. A special word of thanks to my family members for their support: o A very understanding and supportive brother in-law, Mr. M.E Teele, whose example of academic commitment and perseverance encouraged me tremendously. o My parents, Abiel and Mamotebo, who are the source of inspiration in my life. o My grandmother Mmants'eli, for everything she did for me and for the love shown to my father. o My uncle Joseph Nqcabe Thabana for motivating me to pursue my studies despite all odds. o Lastly, my beloved brother Peter, to whom I owe a special debt of gratitude for his financial support from my first year at college through to university level. DEDICATION This thesis is dedicated to the loving memory of the late family members: o My grandparents, Majoel Gumede, Mathews and Mapaballo Thabana o My uncles Zechariah Thabana and Joel Gumede. ABSTRACT This research study explores the process in the development of the TST (Teacher Support Team) in assisting teachers of LSEN (Learners with Special Educational Needs) in the mainstream classroom. This research was conducted in the context of the restructuring of the South African Education system. The Policy Document White Paper 6 (2001) states that all learners irrespective of the barriers to learning and development have a right to be educated in the ordinary school, together with their peers. During the apartheid era, the learners with more severe special needs were placed in special schools or segregated classes. The schools in disadvantaged areas did not have access to these specialist education services and were lacking in materials and human resources. The study firstly aims to investigate the perceptions and coping skills of teachers of LSEN in identifying and addressing the barriers to learning and development and then the development of TST in one school in a disadvantaged area. A qualitative research method was used that included the following data collection methods: questionnaires, an interview with members of the TST, and field notes from observation in the classroom and at TST meetings. The responses from the questionnaires, interviews and field notes were summarized, coded into themes and reported in the research findings. After the intervention, the results are discussed. This study highlights the need for developing an effectively functioning TST in schools, and for improving education support services. The study concludes that only through continued training and capacity building will the school system be equipped to address these barriers. The limitations and strengths of the study are also discussed.