Responsibility towards learning: a case study of grade nine special needs learners in a small inclusive classroom
Author(s)Loubser, Maria Magdelena Hendrina
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AbstractAbstract: An investigation into a selected group of adolescent learners in a small-classroom inclusion programme at a private school following the GDE curriculum indicated that these learners, who had special needs because of learning disabilities, exploited their awareness of their disabilities to avoid responsibility and accountability. Their attitudes and perceptions in an inclusive teaching and learning environment were explored through a qualitative, interpretive case study, with observations, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaires being used for data collection. The educational management and educators of the school were also involved in data gathering and provided rich inputs into arriving at useful insights into the learners' behaviour and possible solutions that could be considered. Although the learners professed to be mindful of their own responsibility in learning, their behaviour in real-life classroom context gave strong indications of a lack of self-knowledge, self-regulation, intrinsic motivation, and an internal locus of control. These deficiencies placed greater burdens on their educators, who advocated a need for stronger discipline in school environments. Attention was also given to similar responsibility problems in the general education landscape, with the Department of Basic Education's launch of a Bill of Responsibilities serving as an indicator of the need for promoting a well-grounded sense of accountability among South African learners if they are to become responsible citizens. The fostering of self-regulation appeared to be a serious need among learners, whereas educators could benefit from gaining self-knowledge to enable them to adapt successfully and efficiently to a rapidly changing education environment. In the conclusion to the study, main principles were outlined that should be contemplated to counter a culture of avoidance of responsibility not only in school but also general social context. Although the study may have limited application because of its restricted parameters, it may have value through tentative exploration of a field about which little research is available in the literature.