Educators' perception of school remedial education services rendered to pupils in the mainstream of education

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Special Education encompasses a wide field. It is an expensive form of education and is often criticized for its shortcomings. One part of Special Education is remedial teaching for children with learning disabilities. In order to provide good quality services, it is necessary to evaluate what is currently being offered and what is envisaged as desirable for the future. This study focusses on those two factors by examining the perceptions of remedial teaching as held by educators (principals, regular class teachers and remedial teachers themselves) in fifty-two schools of the Department of Education and Culture - House of Representatives (DEC-HR). Current service provisions and the desired role of the remedial teacher are thus examined to determine whether educators perceive these as adequate and desirable. A study of the literature was undertaken and guided by those insights a questionnaire was drawn up. This was distributed to educators and the information was verified and augmented by personal interviews with remedial educators. Three hundred and twenty questionnaires were distributed. The views of principals, regular class teachers and remedial teachers were surveyed in those primary schools served by a remedial teacher. Descriptive statistical analyses were used to arrive at both quantitative and qualitative assessments of the position of Remedial Services in the Department of Education (House of Representatives). The study revealed a strong correspondence between the three groups of educators regarding their perception of remedial services. The author endeavours to illustrate that the lack of consensus about criteria for definition and classification of Learning Disability and consequently Remedial Education, leads to confusion of the role(s) remedial teachers are expected to fulfil. This affects the provision of adequate and effective remedial services to pupils in need of such specialised educational facilities. Results from this study led the author to draw up a proposed structure for Specialised Education, in particular, Remedial Education, in a unitary Education System in South Africa.

Bibliography: pages 252-280.