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Developing standards for inclusive teaching in South Africa: a dilemma analysis

Walton, Elizabeth; Rusznyak, Lee


Elizabeth Walton

Lee Rusznyak


As inclusive education has gained traction internationally, there has been a demand for teachers who are equipped to teach diverse learners. This has led to attempts to capture the competences of inclusive teachers in scholarly literature and in the development of standards for professional teaching generally, and for inclusive teaching in particular. Sets of national standards are expected to enhance the professional status of teaching and improve student outcomes by describing the knowledge of teachers, developing a shared language of practice, promoting accountability, and directing professional development initiatives. This paper is concerned with the development of a set of standards for inclusive teaching to inform initial teacher education in South Africa. The conversations of people involved in the standards generation work were, with permission, recorded and analysed. The analysis of the data showed that during deliberations, a number of dilemmas emerged. The first dilemma is whether standards for inclusive teaching should be described apart from the more general professional teaching standards applicable to all teachers. The second dilemma was a contest about whether the standards should adopt broad or narrow definitions of inclusive education. The third relates to the primacy of context, and the fourth dilemma concerns the significance of learner differences for teaching and learning. The resolution of these dilemmas is explained with Wiredu’s (1996) concept of the ‘will to consensus’ and professional judgement of the participants.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2019-08
Journal Southern African Review of Education
Print ISSN 1563-4418
Publisher Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 1
Pages 89-106
Institution Citation Walton, E., & Rusznyak, L. (2019). Developing standards for inclusive teaching in South Africa: a dilemma analysis. Southern African Review of Education, 25(1), 89-106
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