Teachers’ perceptions of ability grouping in the face of policy on inclusion: A case of Johannesburg metropolitan mainstream primary schools

South African Journal of Childhood Education

Field Value
Title Teachers’ perceptions of ability grouping in the face of policy on inclusion: A case of Johannesburg metropolitan mainstream primary schools
Creator Hove, Nilford Phasha, Nareadi T.
Subject — ability grouping; teacher’s perceptions; primary schools; inclusive pedagogy; South Africa
Description Background: This article reports findings of a qualitative study that investigated teachers’ perceptions on the use of ability grouping as a classroom pedagogical practice at selected primary schools in South Africa in the wake of the inclusive education movement. Ability grouping is one of the most used grouping practices in South African schools, but little is known about how teachers view it in the wake of the policy on inclusion.Aim: This study was aimed at exploring the mainstream classroom teachers’ perceptions about the use of ability grouping in the classrooms and how it reflects on principles of inclusive education.Setting: A total of ten teachers from ten different primary schools, two from each district, were purposefully selected to participate in the study.Methods: A qualitative approach was used in this study. Data were collected through in-depth interviews, which were conducted on two occasions with each participant at their respective schools. Data were analysed thematically for content and returned to participants for accuracy checking.Results: Findings revealed that teachers perceive ability grouping as capable of facilitating interactions of learners with learning disabilities, offering opportunities for differentiated instruction and facilitating proper use of teaching and learning media. Despite its benefits, ability grouping can be viewed as contrasting with the ideals of inclusive pedagogy and perpetuating exclusion, as diverse learners are not given opportunities to learn together in the same groups.Conclusion: The article recommends that ability grouping should be withdrawn as it perpetuates incidents of learner labelling. Differentiated instruction and the provision of varied teaching/learning media should be carried out within inclusive settings to prevent incidents of learner labelling. A model for an inclusive grouping practice is proposed.Contribution: The study findings will help in improving teachers’ competencies and understanding of inclusive classroom pedagogic practices that benefit all learners at primary school levels despite their differences.
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2022-09-27
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Survey/Interview
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajce.v12i1.1081
Source South African Journal of Childhood Education; Vol 12, No 1 (2022); 9 pages 2223-7682 2223-7674
Language eng
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https://sajce.co.za/index.php/sajce/article/view/1081/2210 https://sajce.co.za/index.php/sajce/article/view/1081/2211 https://sajce.co.za/index.php/sajce/article/view/1081/2212 https://sajce.co.za/index.php/sajce/article/view/1081/2213
Coverage Johannesburg city, Gauteng Province, South Africa Chronological Boys and girls between the ages of 7-12
Rights Copyright (c) 2022 Nilford Hove, Nareadi T. Phasha https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0