Meeting the needs of students with learning difficulties: A case study
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
Children who experience learning difficulties and achieve below what is expected, are found in every school. These students tend to be referred to by teachers as 'slow', 'weak', 'unintelligent' or similar labels that connote low intelligence. However, most schools in Kenya and Pakistan are hardly aware of the existence of these students and know little about how to identify and cater to their needs. This study looked at how a private school in Pakistan identified and responded to the needs of its students, who experience difficulty in learning through an initiative that they referred to as the 'slow learners' programme'. The study found that the response grew out of pressure on the teachers from the parents, and the need for accountability to the head of the school and the administration rather than from a deep seated concern for the students. It reports how the teachers characterised the students and labelled them as 'slow learners'. It found that prior to the intervention, teachers' viewed these students as creating problems for them, as well as the cause of their own learning difficulties. As teachers got to know the students' and their backgrounds better, they found that the students were not 'slow' as previously thought, but that there were factors which 'slowed' them down. This revelation brought a shift in the teachers' attitudes from viewing the child as a problem, to viewing their environment as a problem. Data from the study draws implications for the school and offers recommendations to teacher training and development institutions. This is done to begin raising awareness of diverse learning needs, through courses that enable teachers to identify students with learning difficulties and adapt their methods and resources to meet the needs of these students.
Abungu, E. (1999). Meeting the needs of students with learning difficulties: A case study (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.