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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


MOOSA, Moeniera  and  BEKKER, Tanya. Initial Teacher Education students' conceptualisation of inclusive education. Journal of Education [online]. 2021, n.85, pp.55-74. ISSN 2520-9868.

Policy and legislative frameworks in South Africa mandate inclusive education that, given the contextual realities of classrooms, requires teachers to be responsive to diversity. There is, however, an identified gap between policy ideals and enactment that is exacerbated by a lack of conceptual clarity regarding the nature of inclusive education and practice that is still viewed by many as being limited to considerations of special needs rather than broader considerations of diversity as well. Initial Teacher Education (ITE) has a role to play in challenging and disrupting teacher thinking to support conceptualisations of inclusive education that position teachers' responsiveness to diversity. We used the Inclusive Pedagogical Approach in Action (IPAA) Framework (Florian & Spratt, 2013) since it focuses on inclusive pedagogy as a way of thinking about and practising inclusion to support the learning of all. We conducted the qualitative research at a public urban university in Johannesburg, South Africa with 200 third-year preservice teachers. We analysed the data by considering preservice teachers' reflections on adapting content knowledge, their thinking about learner needs, and their selection of teaching and learning strategies. Findings indicate that preservice teachers were engaging with the theoretical foundations of inclusive education; they demonstrated awareness about issues of diversity but struggled to establish learners' diverse needs and how to address these in practice. This study suggests that preservice teachers' conceptualisations of inclusive education must be given consideration and that they require robust training on how to enact inclusive pedagogy. We recommend continued support for preservice teachers in building their capacity to enhance responsiveness in inclusive practice through ITE programmes and further research.

Keywords : inclusive education; preservice teachers; planning; pedagogy; practice; conceptualisations.

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