As part of its community engagement portfolio, the School of Education recently hosted the initial learning barriers workshop. The workshop was the brainchild of Dr Angela James, Dr Linda Jairam and Durban East Primary School acting deputy principal Mrs Nabie Khan.
It was attended by teachers and UKZN student teachers from various schools in the Wentworth, Bluff and Merewent areas. These school districts were selected based on the learner needs that were identified.
The aim of the workshop was to address learning barriers experienced by learners in the classrooms and to find possible ways to overcome these.
Said Jairam, ‘Some of the barriers that we have identified are physical disabilities, memory concentration, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), communication challenges and even social problems that impact learners’ ability to perform academically. Schools are mandated towards inclusive education, it is hoped that this series of workshops will dovetail into this.’
Grade 2 teacher at Austerville Primary School Ms. A. Sibisi added, ‘My learners will be benefitting from this workshop. It has equipped me with the necessary skills to address some of the learning barriers they experience. I will be attending the next session because it is of value to me as a teacher.’
On the recent partnership established between the School of Education and Durban East Primary School, Khan said, ‘Our learners come from difficult backgrounds with socio-economic challenges, even doing homework is challenging as parents are unable to assist because for them, it is bread and butter issues that are more important than assisting with homework.’
‘We are excited that UKZN has stepped in to assist our learners by offering hands-on teaching to overcome these barriers. We have more than a 1000 learners who need assistance and we are looking forward to this cooperation.’
Talking about the advantages of the workshop, UKZN Honours student and teacher at Clareville Primary School, Ms Priyanka Ruthan added, ‘This workshop is important because it allows you to diagnose observable and unobservable learning barriers such as ADHD.
‘The role of the teacher in this is vital because you can identify these learning barriers at an early stage so it doesn’t go undetected and pose a problem at a later adult stage. The series of workshops is a positive way to make a difference in the lives of those we teach.’