Metaphors that matter in inclusive education
I was at a primary school in Johannesburg to observe and evaluate a lesson given by a pre-service teacher (I’ll call her Stacey) doing her practicum. It was a grade one lesson on numeracy, and Stacey had prepared an elaborate game of ‘bingo’ to drill number bonds. As I settled in to watch the lesson and write my comments, I noticed one boy (I will call him Wandile) was not assigned a partner with whom to work. Instead, he was added to a pair to make a triad. The number of learners in the class was not even so this didn’t immediately strike me as problematic. But as the game got underway it became clear that Wandile was not participating with his peers in working out the sums given and he kept leaving his seat and wandering around the classroom. Stacey began to reprimand him, and the game was punctuated with injunctions to Wandile to ‘sit down’, ‘leave the other learners’ and ‘be quiet’. Her irritation with Wandile and his behaviour was obvious, and she became increasingly frustrated that Wandile was jeopardising the smooth running of her game and potentially compromising my evaluation of her teaching ability. Finally, about ten minutes before the end of the lesson, Wandile went back to his desk, put his head on his arms, put his thumb in his mouth and watched the rest of the game until the bell rang to signal the end of the lesson.