Differentiation practices in a private and government high school classroom in Lesotho: Evaluating teacher responses

South African Journal of Education 41 (1):1-13 (2021)
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One way in which the practice of inclusion can be actualised in classrooms is through the use of consistent, appropriate differentiated instruction. What remains elusive, however, is insight into what teachers in different contexts think and believe about differentiation, how consistently they differentiate instruction and what challenges they experience in doing so. In the study reported on here high school classrooms in a private and a government school in Lesotho were compared in order to determine teachers’ thoughts and beliefs about differentiation, the frequency of differentiated instruction, and the challenges faced by teachers who implement this inclusive practice. Sampled teachers offered their views on what they understood differentiated instruction to be, the frequency of differentiated instruction, and identified challenges via an administered questionnaire. Data analysis was based on frequency counts and bar charts for comparative purposes. Findings indicate that private school teachers have a higher frequency of differentiated teaching practice, with time constraints indicated as the main challenge. Government school teachers had a lower frequency of differentiation, and identified a lack of resources, and the learner-teacher ratio as challenges, among others. In the study we highlighted the critical role that private schools can play in the national call for the implementation of inclusive teaching in Lesotho, in terms of active collaboration with surrounding government schools. Private schools, with their resources and access to professional development opportunities, can become catalysts in the implementation of inclusive teaching practices.

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