South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
PILLAY, Jace and TERLIZZI, Marisa Di. A case study of a learner's transition from mainstream schooling to a school for learners with special educational needs (LSEN): lessons for mainstream education. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.4, pp. 491-509. ISSN 2076-3433.
Currently there is an international shift towards inclusive education, a means of education according to which the learner is schooled in the least restrictive environment possible, to overcome his or her challenges to learning and development. Bearing this in mind we considered the experiences of a learner with learning difficulties who transited from a mainstream school environment to a school for learners with special education needs (LSEN).1 Inclusive education and ecological systems were the theoretical underpinnings of this study. The findings revealed that the learner benefited from placement within the LSEN environment on psychological, social, and academic levels. It appears that these changes occurred as a result of being placed in an environment that provided valuable and necessary resources to meet his learning needs, which were lacking in the mainstream school environment. Therefore, it seems that while inclusive education may be a way forward to access quality education for all, it can be argued that the current South African socio-economic environment does not necessarily allow for its successful implementation, as further access to resources and facilities need to be made available. These findings provide useful lessons at regulatory, infrastructural, and instructional functional levels for what is needed for learners with special education needs to succeed in mainstream school environments.
Keywords : case study; ecological; inclusive education; LSEN [learners with special education needs]; mainstream; systems; transition.