Inclusive education in initial teacher education in South Africa: practical or professional knowledge?

Elizabeth Walton

Abstract


Inclusive education in initial teacher education in South Africa: practical or professional knowledge?
Elizabeth Walton

(Received 25 May 2016; accepted 22 February 2017)
Abstract
Inclusive education is embedded in South African policy with the expectation that teacher
education will equip pre-service teachers to teach inclusively. As a result, courses in inclusive
education are offered in most Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes and research interest in
teacher education for inclusion has grown. This paper contributes to this body of knowledge by
using Legitimation Code Theory to engage critically with concepts and assessment tasks from three
inclusive education courses. This meant identifying where theoretical, context independent
knowledge is privileged (semantic density), and where the knowledge is derived from practice or
experience and designed to be implemented within specific contexts (semantic gravity). Using
examples as reference points, I discuss how inclusive education comes to emphasise practical
knowledge, to be enacted in particular contexts, or with particular groups of learners. An
alternative is to position inclusive education as professional knowledge where theoretically
informed judgments are made in response to the complexity of learner diversity. This will require
strengthening the disciplinary foundation of concepts presented in ITE courses in inclusive
education.

Keywords


Inclusive education; practical knowledge; professional knowledge; Legitimation Code Theory

Full Text:

PDF


Copyright (c) 2017 Elizabeth Walton

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Journal of Education