CHALLENGES AND COMPETENCE IN TEACHING IN INCLUSIVE CLASSROOMS IN RWANDA
Abstract: Aim: The study explores Rwandan teachers’ perspectives on competencies they have for teaching in inclusive classrooms, the support teachers need to develop their competencies, and the challenges they face in inclusive schools in Rwanda.Theory:Danielson’s Framework for Teaching builds the theoretical framework for this research. It is a valuable tool for defining good teaching and provide consistency of teacher’s competencies. The theory describes ‘what teachers should know and be able to do’ in their teaching profession in inclusive schools. It helped in structuring an interview guide and in making sense of data gathered on my research topic.Method: The study used a qualitative approach based on purposive sampling, whereby semi-structured interviews were held with seven secondary teachers working in inclusive schools in Rwanda. The data collected from seven teachers were analyzed through thematic analysis by transcribing, coding, categorizing. A thematized synthesis of coded data provides for the study’s results.Results:The results revealed that secondary teachers have different competencies and face serious barriers when teaching students with multiple abilities, disabilities, and special educational needs in the same classroom. The teachers have aspirations concerning learning enhancement and outcomes for all students (with and without disabilities). They believe that all children can make progress. Teachers elucidated that (1) using different teaching methods like teaching students in constructivist manners -learner-centered methods, storytelling, roleplay; (2) good communication with all education stakeholders; (3) to be able to maintain the behaviors of students; and (4) designing and using assessments in teaching and keeping accurate data to monitor student's progress in learning, are appropriate competencies for teaching inclusive classrooms. Despite all the crucial competencies, they need support to develop and strengthen their competencies, such as (i) continuous training about how better to engage and interact with disabled students; (ii) maintaining their behavior and their inclusion in co-curricular activities, (iii) education on sign language and on manipulating special devices (for instance, braille machines); (iv) sign language books (also on grammar). They also made it clear that they have not been prepared or trained to teach deaf and blind students, and it seems deaf students are socially and academically excluded due to an inappropriate learning environment. In keeping with the reported challenges, teachers in Rwanda can achieve some inclusion, but not the inclusion of all.
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