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International Journal
of
Learning, Teaching
And
Educational Research
p-ISSN:
1694-2493
e-ISSN:
1694-2116
IJLTER.ORG
Vol.22 No.1
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
(IJLTER)
Vol. 22, No. 1 (January 2023)
Print version: 1694-2493
Online version: 1694-2116
IJLTER
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER)
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Foreword
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Editors of the January 2023 Issue
VOLUME 22 NUMBER 1 January 2023
Table of Contents
“Mending Bridges”: English Teachers Teaching for Social Cohesion..............................................................................1
Vincent Nojaja, Leila Kajee
Challenges of Implementing the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Special Needs Children with Learning
Disabilities: Systematic Literature Review (SLR).............................................................................................................. 15
Syar Meeze Mohd Rashid, Mei Ti Wong
Impact of a Positive Classroom Climate on Sixth Graders’ Motivation to Learn Mathematics at Northern Israel’s
Arab Minority Schools ......................................................................................................................................................... 35
Nabil Assadi
Special Education Teacher’s Application of Entrepreneurial Elements in Teaching and Facilitation....................... 55
Syar Meeze Mohd Rashid, Norfatimah A. Ghani
Integrative Principals’ Leadership Behaviour Approach to Improve Student Academic Outcomes in Ethiopian
Secondary Schools ................................................................................................................................................................ 72
RJ (Nico) Botha, Seyoum Gari Aleme
Students’ Perceptions of Biology Teachers’ Enacted Pedagogical Content Knowledge at Selected Secondary
Schools in Lusaka Province of Zambia .............................................................................................................................. 94
Thumah Mapulanga, Gilbert Nshogoza, Ameyaw Yaw
Postgraduate Science Students’ Impressions and Experiences of Online Pedagogical Practices: Implications for
Technology-Enhanced Pedagogy ..................................................................................................................................... 112
Sam Ramaila, Lydia Mavuru
The Impact of KaniMani Storytelling Mobile Application (KM-SMA) on Tamil Students’ Speaking Skills and
Motivation in Learning Tamil ........................................................................................................................................... 129
Khasturi Ramalingam, Yeo Kee Jiar
Contribution of Academia Colleague as a Clinical Model to the Professional Development of Pre-Service
Teachers ............................................................................................................................................................................... 143
Seham Hamza, Nabil Assadi, Tareq Murad, Muhammad Ibdah
Effects of Interactive Mathematics Software on Grade-5 Learners’ Performance...................................................... 166
Innocente Uwineza, Alphonse Uworwabayeho, Kenya Yokoyama
The Effectiveness of Online Learning during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Malaysia .................................................. 191
Nurhanani Romli, Mohd Faiz Mohamed Yusof, Yap Tsvey Peng, Nurul Hila Zainuddin
Flipped Classroom in a Digital Learning Space: Its Effect on the Students’ Attitude Toward Mathematics ......... 210
Anton A. Romero, Edarlyn D. Angeles
Exploring Foreign Teachers’ Perceptions of Communication with Students in Online Learning in China: A Case
Study..................................................................................................................................................................................... 228
Jing Guo, Adelina Asmawi
Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Accounting Students’ Capability to Use Technology ........................................ 247
Mujeeb Saif Mohsen Al-Absy
Implementing the Engage, Study, Activate Approach Using Technological Tools in Higher Education .............. 268
Paola Cabrera-Solano, Cesar Ochoa-Cueva, Luz Castillo-Cuesta
Examining the Relationship Between Components of the MUSIC Model of Motivation and Student Achievement
in Computer Programming ............................................................................................................................................... 283
Ali Alshammari
Typology of History Teachers in 21st-Century Learning (Grounded Theory Study in Senior High School in
Indonesia) ............................................................................................................................................................................ 302
Ema Agustina, Didin Saripudin, Leli Yulifar, Encep Supriatna
Portrait of Education in Indonesia: Learning from PISA Results 2015 to Present...................................................... 321
Esti Ismawati, Hersulastuti ., Indiyah Prana Amertawengrum, Kun Andyan Anindita
Investigating EFL Instructors’ Perceptions of using Blackboard in TEFL at IAU Preparatory Year ....................... 341
Sami Mubireek, Montasser Mahmoud, Abdul Aziz Ali El-deen, Ahmed Moumene, Ahmed Younis
Emerging Assessment Practices Cooperating Teachers Shared with Preservice English Teachers in the
Philippines........................................................................................................................................................................... 361
Cailvin D. Reyes
Relationship between Parents’ Beliefs in Early Mathematics and Learning Environment Provision at Home ..... 377
Kong Hui Ling Kong, Suziyani Mohamed
Students’ Preferences Regarding the Techniques of Oral Corrective Feedback in a Tertiary Institution............... 393
Bunyarat Duklim
Embedding Sustainable Development Goals to Support Curriculum Merdeka Using Projects in Biotechnology 406
Aris Rudi Purnomo, Bambang Yulianto, Muhamad Arif Mahdiannur, Hasan Subekti
1
©Authors
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 1-14, January 2023
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.22.1.1
Received Aug 17, 2022; Revised Oct 31, 2022; Accepted Jan 10, 2023
“Mending Bridges”: English Teachers Teaching
for Social Cohesion
Vincent Nojaja and Leila Kajee
University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Abstract. This article explores English Home and First Additional
Language (English HL/FAL) teachers’ insights into social cohesion and
what their understandings imply for teaching the language in diverse
secondary schools in South Africa. Twenty-seven years into democracy,
South African society remains beset with social challenges, such as
increasing inequalities, poverty, and violence indicating intolerance and
a general decline of moral fibre in society. Guided by the theory of social
justice in education and supported by the notion that critical pedagogy
has the potential to transform society, this qualitative case study explored
English teachers’ perceptions of a cohesive society, and the way they
teach for such a society. This study explored whether their theoretical
understanding of the concept improves teachers’ positioning of education
in diverse secondary schools, to achieve the broader objectives outlined
in the national curriculum, and successfully foster social change in post-
apartheid South African society. Conducted through the method a
qualitative exploratory case study, data were elicited through semi-
structured interviews and lesson observations of seven English HL/FAL
teachers from three diverse secondary schools in Merafong City, in the
Gauteng Province, in South Africa. Using content analysis to analyse
data, this study found that teachers perceived a cohesive society as one of
solidarity, respect, peace, humanity, and equal treatment. Interestingly,
some teachers could not clearly link the concept with formal education,
or in fact, English teaching, something which indicated that their
pedagogic knowledge is limited, thus impeding the process of improving
social cohesion in society.
Keywords: English Education; Social Justice; Social Cohesion
1. Introduction
Twenty-seven years into democracy, South African society remains beset with
social challenges, which date back to the gross misdemeanours of the apartheid
era. The country is considered one of the most unequal, intolerant, unstable and
violent societies in the world (Sayed & Badroodien, 2016). Racism, increasing
unemployment rates and poverty continue to divide South African society to an
extent that endangers people’s lives (Cloete, 2014), as the rise of unemployment
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and inequality perpetuate crime and riots that are always harmful to people’s
lives (Meiring, Kannemeyer & Potgieter, 2018; Ratele, 2015). Impoverished people
venture their social-related frustrations and anger on those vulnerable in society.
Such behaviours and instances indicate that social cohesion in South Africa has
not yet been achieved, and the society’s moral fibre is declining despite the
strategies put in place to improve the spheres that are aimed at bringing about
social transformation. Although the education sector gets the biggest amount
from the government’s budget allocation in order to provide quality education
that effectively address recent social issues such as inequality and fragmentation
(Sayed, Badroodien, Omar, Ndabaga, Novelli, Durrani, Barrett, Balie, Salmon,
Bizimana, Ntahomvukiye and Utomi, 2018), the post-apartheid South African
society remains overwhelmed by the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid.
The main aim of this paper is to examine teachers’ understandings of a cohesive
society and how this may have empowered and enabled them to teach for the
broader outcomes of the curriculum, including the improvement of social
cohesion in the conflict-affected communities. Given the potential role of formal
education in changing people’s lives and the structure of society at large, this
paper is rooted in the tenets of social justice, which accounts for equitable
provision of quality education that develops learners’ intellectual and ethical
skills. The efficacy of social justice in education is also linked with teacher-
competence given their role as key agents of social change. Therefore, teachers
need to possess a great appreciation of socio-cultural and socio-economic
differences, and of the impact this diversity may have on the success of teaching
and learning practices. In short, teachers in diverse educational institutions of
education need to be critical pedagogues.
2. Theoretical framework: Social justice and social cohesion
Social cohesion, as an element of social justice, is a concept which fosters unity,
peace and tolerance by encouraging a sense of belonging and participation in
society (Fonseca, Lukosh & Brazier, 2019; De Kock, Sayed & Badroodien, 2018),
while social justice is the theory through which to develop the envisaged society.
In a general sense, social justice is an instrument for developing a social structure
(Rawls, 1999). As a theory, it assumes that “all people, irrespective of belief or
societal position, are entitled to be treated according to the values of human rights,
human dignity and equality” (Van Deventer, Van der Westhuizen & Potgieter,
2015, p. 1). Social justice is a crucial impetus for promoting humanity, peace,
tolerance, and unity. In other words, a conflict-affected society has the potential
to improve social cohesion by enacting social justice in institutions of public
importance such as schools. Adams, Bell, Goodman and Joshi (2016) add that the
theory is a social-oriented tool for reshaping society. For education that is aimed
at improving social cohesions and cohesion, recognition of socio-cultural and
socio-economic inequalities is essential as this has the potential to remediate
injustices and learning barriers in South Africa’s education. Thus, this paper
argues in favour of Rawls’ (1999) postulation that social justice is the primary
course towards achieving a harmonious society, as it entails the regulation of
social principles and fair treatment and distribution of social resources.
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Being the fundamental principle of just social systems in society, social justice is
grounded in honesty and impartiality insofar as the distribution of social
resources is concerned. Rawls (1999, p. 3) highlights the principle of distributive
justice as truth and fairness: “A theory however elegant and economical must be
rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise, laws and institutions no matter how
efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.”
This means that the concept encourages accurate, reliable and transparent
processes for fair and just social systems and practices. Fair and just practices are
the most important social principles guiding the individuals’ actions and
allocation of social resources (Rawls, 1999).
A crucial aspect of social justice in education is enabling educational policies and
practices to serve learners equally. For this reason, it is an instrument through
which to examine, formulate, enact and monitor in order to ensure equitable
distribution of the natural resources meant to improve society (Nieto, 2000). The
theory constitutes “analyzing school policies and practices – the curriculum,
textbooks and materials, instructional strategies, tracking, recruitment and hiring
of staff, and parent involvement strategies – that devalue the identities of some
students while valuing those of others” (Nieto, 2000, p. 183). This calls for teachers
to be critical of curriculum content and pedagogies that they use to facilitate
learning practices. This also entails examining the purpose of the content that is
taught and the effectiveness of the pedagogies in enabling learners’ equitable
access into the curriculum. Therefore, fair and equitable teaching and learning
can be achieved in South Africa’s education if justice in education is effectively
applied. In fact, this can possibly improve the schooling system and accelerate
social cohesion, as according to Sayed and Badroodien (2016), social
transformation is developed through quality and equitable education.
Social justice is rooted in three fundamental social bands, namely conducive place,
fair practice or action, and unbiased principles. These social bands are
intertwined. As Rawls says [F]or even though justice has a certain priority, being the
most important virtue of institutions, it is still true that, other things equal, one
conception of justice is preferable to another when its broader consequences are more
desirable.” (Rawls, 1999, p. 6).
Considering social justice according to the previous bands, this paper contends
that education has the potential to improve social cohesion and teachers are key
agents in the process. The school environment and classroom practices help
prepare young people to take up adult roles in society. Any form of inequitable
treatment may hinder the process, and hence, it can exacerbate social challenges
such as inequalities, poverty and divisions. When learners are given proper
support and appropriate resources, they develop better critical skills, which
enable them to live responsibly (Bickmore, 2006). Besides, school is the place in
which social differences are contested, negotiated and addressed (De Kock et al.,
2018). Therefore, social justice is imperative to the context of South African
education system as it offers a scope of thoughts for effective means to improve
culture of teaching and learning, so that social change and cohesion can be
realised. South Africa’s education is still marked with inequalities (Badat &
Sayed, 2014; Spaull, 2013), thereby impeding the potential progress in advancing
social change.
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There are many reasons affirming the importance of social justice and the
principle of equal distribution of resources in post-apartheid South African
education institutions. Firstly, the principle of equitable distribution of resources
in education implies the distribution of more teaching and learning instruments
to those with less or previously disadvantaged (Nieuwenhuis, 2010). The process
ensures that the education institutions are able to provide equitable quality
education to the community. The author argues that social justice in educational
institutions therefore provides equitable learning opportunities, and provides
each learner with opportunities to become independent citizens in a democratic
society. In other words, social justice mitigates learners’ background
circumstances as learning barriers. Social justice helps learners “[to] reach high
levels of learning and prepare them all for active and full participation in a
democracy” (Villegas, 2007, p. 372).
Secondly, the concept of social justice in education corresponds with Freire’s
(1970) notion of education. Paolo Freire (1970) maintains that the main objective
of formal education is to liberate people and transform communities by
addressing inequalities. This suggests two positions with regard to the South
Africa’s cause of improving social cohesion. On the one hand, the challenge of
increasing inequalities – which are by means of race (Khambule & Siswana, 2017),
socioeconomic status (Segalo, 2015), geographic location (Nkambule, 2012) and
gender (Bhorat & Van der Westhuizen, 2012) – in post-apartheid South Africa
indicate that the country’s education system is not well positioned for effective
enhancement of social cohesion. On the other hand, the county lacks full
commitment and effective implementation to improve learning and teaching
conditions contributing to the decline of the education system in the country. Full
commitment and effective implementation mean delivering on the promise and
constant monitoring circumstances.
Lastly, Cappy (2016) attests that social justice (specifically, equitable distribution)
in South African education is significant in her discussion of the country’s
education during apartheid. The education system was structured to divide rather
than to unite society. “Resources were allocated unequally, with white schools
receiving the greatest resources and (B)lack schools the fewest” (Cappy, 2016, p.
124). This means that inequitable distribution of teaching and learning resources
at the time was meant to perpetuate inequalities between Black and white groups
(Fiske & Ladd, 2004 in Cappy, 2016). In other words, resources play an essential
role in education and societal structures. Effective practice of social justice will
elevate social cohesion through equal and equitable education, and address crises
in education. When the education system is unequal, the idea of a cohesive society
is relegated to public speeches and policies and remains unfulfilled in practice.
Rather, the education system might aggravate social fragmentation, as learners in
poor-resourced schools tend to perform poorly and fail to enter higher education
institutions (Sayed et al., 2018; Becker et al., 2015). Thus, Novelli and Sayed (2016)
conclude that one of the consequences of the situation is extreme social ills,
including poverty, inequalities, and divisions.
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3. Research design
This study follows the interpretive paradigm, a central research perspective that
informs the methods of the research. The research adopts a qualitative case study
as a technique to investigate English teachers’ understandings of a socially just
cohesive society. Using non-probability sampling, which enables researchers to
choose the participants from whom they can learn more about the situation
(Kothari, 2004), 7 English HL/FAL teachers from three public secondary schools
in Merafong city, in the Gauteng province, were selected to participate. While the
original sample was eight teachers, one participant later recused herself from the
study. Non-probability sampling was relevant to this qualitative case study as it
helped to select the best group of the participants that would offer data which
could provide responses to the research. Three participants were from School A,
2 from School B, and 2 from School C.
All individual participants were observed twice to examine how they engage with
learners in their English lessons, and a semi-structured interview with each
teacher was conducted to elicit data. Observations help collect ‘live’ data, while
interviews gather information based on participant’s perceptions (Ary et al.,
2010).
Data in this study were analysed using content analysis. Creswell’s (2014) steps
proved helpful:
• Organising and preparing data for analysis, the process which entails
transcribing the interviews, scanning of material, and typing up field notes.
• Reading through the collected data to get an overview of the information
before reflecting on the overall meaning. This stage allowed for the primary
researcher to write notes about their general thoughts in margins.
• Analysing data using a coding process. The coding process comprises “taking
text data or pictures gathered during data collection, segmenting sentences …
and labelling those categories with a term, often based in the actual language
of the participants (Creswell, 2014).
Reliability and trustworthiness were guaranteed by means of triangulation and
member checking, as well as drawing on multiple data sources. The process
provided the teachers with opportunities to challenge and rectify responses that
may have been misrepresented, thus ensuring validity and authenticity.
To ensure that this research was ethical, permission from all the relevant
stakeholders and organisations was requested and granted prior to data
collection. These involved written consent granting permission to work with
schools from the School Governing Body, teachers, and the principal of each site.
Consent to participate in this study was also requested from the teachers.
Furthermore, confidentiality was assured using pseudonyms, encouragement of
voluntary participation, and inclusion of the researcher’s contact information in
all the letters of consent. Finally, audio recordings and transcripts have not been
publicly exposed or availed, and they will remain confidential.
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4. Data description and analysis
To establish English teachers’ understandings of a socially just cohesive society,
the primary researcher coded and categorised data from the interviews and
observations into themes, focussing on the teachers’ theory and praxis. The
themes reported on in this paper are: English teachers’ understandings of a
socially just cohesive society; English teachers’ classroom teachings for a socially
just cohesive society; and limited pedagogic knowledge.
4.1 English teachers’ understanding of a socially just cohesive society
The teachers’ views of a cohesive society aligned with literature in the field of
social cohesion, inter alia, individuals’ attitudes, equality, inclusion, and
participation (Addeo, Diana, Bottoni & Esposito, 2017; Fenger, 2012). Most
teachers related the concept to the social condition and structure, but with varying
purposes.
“[It is] a society that does not discriminate but rather works towards
integrating everyone in society regardless of difference[s]. A society that
acknowledges differences and works towards merging society.” (Interview
with Mrs Thabethe).
“A socially just cohesive society is where there is equality, a society where
people are free to express themselves as they see fit… exclusion and
marginalisation, creates a sense of inequality, and promotes lack of trust
and unity among all the members of society.” (Interview with Ms
Makhosi).
“A socially just cohesive society is a society that allows and respects
different views and, more importantly, free discourse whereby people
listen to each other even when at odds with one another. This importance
is amplified when it comes to marginalized group who have to be given a
platform to voice out their grievances so previous injustices can be
rectified.” (Interview with Mr Daniels).
According to these three respondents, some of the features that determine a
cohesive society are equity and freedom of expression. For Mrs Thabethe and Mr
Daniels that includes acknowledging the fact that society is made up of diverse
individuals whose views and abilities should be respected. Mrs Thabethe and Mr
Daniels seem to associate a cohesive society with how individuals are treated in
the community, given their views that a cohesive society is “a society that does
not discriminate” but which “allows and respects” individual differences. This
means that they equate a cohesive society to a social structure that is devoid of
inequalities and discrimination, and where individuals are treated fairly.
Ms Makhosi concurs with Mrs Thabethe’s and Mr Daniels’ sentiments pertaining
to a cohesive society. She highlights the importance of equality and freedom of
expression in society. She feels that “exclusion and marginalisation” of other
people result in negative social dimensions such as “inequality” which she
believes “promotes lack of trust and unity” in society. Like other teachers (such
as Mr Daniels), who highlighted the purpose of fair treatment as a possible means
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to redress social injustices without providing clarity, Ms Makhosi could not
expound on the idea of enacting equitable treatment in society. Yet, she mentions
the consequences of unfair treatment. This implies two positions relating to
teachers’ notions of equal treatment, given the small sample whose views are not
generalisable. On the one hand, it could be indicative of English teachers’ lack of
knowledge insofar as the lack of impartial treatment in society is concerned. On
the other hand, it could mean that teachers do not take the idea of treating learners
equally in the classroom seriously. In essence, these teachers appear preoccupied
with the outcomes rather than the processes of equal treatment in the South
African education system.
Despite the teachers’ superficial understanding of enacting equal treatment in
society, their perceptions of a socially just cohesive society indicate that they
understand the outcomes of inequitable treatment and/or inequalities in society.
In general, the teachers understand that unfair treatment and inequalities in
society jeopardise social cohesion by triggering social instabilities that lead to
social fragmentations rather than social solidarity and harmony. This is consistent
with Berger-Schmitt’s (2002) views about social cohesion in Addeo and
colleagues’ (2017) study that identifies inequalities as one of the broad social
elements that need to be addressed if society wants to improve the status quo of
social cohesion. According to Addeo et al. (2017), social cohesion improves when
the levels of inequality in society diminish.
4.2 English teachers’ classroom teachings for a socially just cohesive society
Below is an interview extract with Mrs Dibe demonstrating what it means to
English teachers to teach for a cohesive society.
Researcher: What does teaching for a socially just cohesive society mean to you?
Mrs Dibe: I think it is teaching in such a manner that a teacher instils values, which
are going to make learners uplift unity in the societies where they come
from … it is a teaching through instilling values of unity to the learners,
and also teaching them skills of surviving in their societies...
Researcher: Can you just give me one or two examples of those values, just to be
specific? Thank you.
Mrs Dibe: Learners should be taught that it is very-very important to respect other
human beings … if you are a respectful person you are not self-centred,
you also think of other people. If we see the rape cases, the murders of
women in nowadays, it simply shows us that there is lack of that…
(Interview with Mrs Dibe).
This excerpt highlights that Mrs Dibe believes that teaching for a cohesive society
underpins two ideas, namely, equipping learners with values that encourage
unity, and equipping learners with skills that will help them survive in society.
She strongly believes that providing learners with these values is essential because
it encourages them to appreciate the significance of unity in society. Mrs Dibe
believes that building a cohesive society begins with providing young people with
social principles and other necessary skills that will help them live a successful
life. This can possibly nurture a harmonious society, given her confidence that
such teaching “will actually reduce” crime in South Africa.
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Her colleague, Mrs Thabethe, acknowledges the importance of teaching for a
cohesive society. She recognises that such teaching can improve inequalities
which have been in existence for decades in South Africa. She also emphasises
that more knowledge is crucial in addressing social challenges, something she
feels is missing in the country’s education system. She articulated:
“Teaching for social cohesion can help mend the bridges that equality
throughout the years has burnt. The inequality in society still exists
because education teaches specific individuals for specific roles without
affording them all the tools and allowing them to make their own decisions
regarding where they would like to fall on the economic ladder.”
(Interview with Mrs Thabethe).
Mrs Thabethe sees the significance of teaching for a cohesive society but believes
that the education system fails to achieve this purpose. However, the Curriculum
and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in which the general aims of the
country’s curriculum are based, provides for the provision of a wide range of
knowledge. For instance, learners should be provided “with the knowledge, skills
and values necessary for self-fulfilment, and meaningful participation in society
as citizens of a free country” (Department of Basic Education (DoBE), 2011, p. 4).
Mrs Thabethe considers the current education system narrow to promote social
cohesion. This could possibly be because her knowledge of the CAPS provisions
is limited, or that she is unable to position education to provide learners with
broad and necessary skills. This is a challenge in need of urgent attention for
teachers and the curriculum to realise the objectives of education in South Africa.
Education should be well balanced to prepare society for the labour market; to
effectively develop people to think and apply their knowledge critically; to help
young people become active citizens in modern and democratic society, and to
realise individuals’ personal growth (Council of Europe, 2015).
When asked about how they teach for a cohesive society, participants differed in
ideas and strategies. One of them explained:
“My favourite topic when teaching English is poetry, and poetry helps me
to say things like apartheid was wrong, and as a white teacher the children
are often surprised that I would say something like this … So, I very often
use things like that, a little bit of humour to try and include my kids in
my social sphere of my life… and I think that helps them to see that we
can all be part of one-big society…” (Interview with Mrs Morntana).
This extract depicts Mrs Morntana’s teaching techniques aimed to promote a
cohesive society. She enjoys teaching poetry since it relates to authentic social
issues, such as apartheid, which is a still responsible for social ills perpetuated in
post-apartheid South African society (Davis & Steyn, 2012). As a white woman,
she believes that poetry presents her with opportunities to condemn apartheid.
Mrs Morntana applies her theoretical knowledge of a socially cohesive society in
the classroom. Her teaching-learning approach draws on Boler’s (1999) pedagogy
of discomfort, aligning her lessons as she does with authentic and sensitive social
issues which provoke a sense of discomfort. Through this pedagogy, Boler (1999)
recognises how what we know, and feel are intertwined beyond our classrooms,
shaping who we are. By delivering the lesson along the lines of a pedagogy of
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discomfort, Mrs Morntana enables her teaching strategy to “bring students and
learners to develop a value of system that takes justice, democratic values,
freedom, and the suffering of others seriously” (Davis & Steyn, 2012, p. 30). For
her, she teaches in this way to help learners understand the inaccuracies of
political propaganda. It makes other young people recognise that life is about
being able to strive for justice, freedom, and unity. Indeed, “one gains a new sense
of interconnection with others” (Boler, 1999, p. 199).
Mr Daniels believes:
“Teaching for a socially just cohesive society means moulding learners to
be future leaders who see the importance of coming back to the community
and do something that will change their lives and the lives of other people
in a positive way; something that will leave a legacy in the community.
Most importantly, it also means to instil a hard-working mentality and a
drive for success in my learner’s spirits and if I have failed on the latter
then I have failed as an educator.” (Interview with Mr Daniels).
A different notion of teaching for a cohesive society is expressed by Mrs Dibe who
claims to treat learners fairly by ensuring that in her class they receive equal
treatment.
“I teach by treating learners fairly, and I do not teach them like they are
unequal beings in the class. They should be treated in an equal manner,
and the teacher should be fair at all times … So, teachers mustn’t practice
favouritism, all the learners should be treated as equal beings in the
class...” (Interview with Mrs Dibe).
Mrs Dibe describes how she teaches to promote a cohesive society. Her choice of
praxis, of “treating learners fairly” and not seeing them as “unequal beings in the
class”, resonates with Philip, Tsedu and Zwane’s (2014) ideas of both fairness and
social cohesion in society, as well as the notions of social justice in the terrain of
education. “A sense of unfairness can give rise to social conflict and a lack of
social cohesion … Lack of social cohesion as a result of inequality also lowers
social trust, which makes it difficult for different interest groups to work together
for a common social goal” (Philip et al., 2014, p. 17). Practising fairness and equity
in the classroom serves the purpose of addressing issues of deteriorating social
trust and unity, and therefore encourages social cohesion. Non-discriminatory
teaching supports broad endeavours meant to transform broader society
(Cochran-Smith, Shakman, Jong, Terrell, Barnatt & McQuillan, 2009). This is
indicative of Mrs Dibe’s awareness that teaching and learning play a key role in
influencing learners’ social conscience, and the impact it has in society at large. In
this instance, her pedagogy is likely to ignite learners’ sense of harmony.
Although most teachers in this study possessed knowledge of a cohesive society,
and what it means to teach for such a society, they seemed to lack clarity on how
to teach in this paradigm. None of the teachers could expand on their pedagogy
sufficiently. For example, Mrs Mortana’s pedagogy denounces the apartheid
regime, and Mrs Thabethe seeks to address inequalities. A pedagogy aimed to
promote a cohesive society requires a broader sense of teaching, which entails
various learning objectives, “including thinking critically, connecting knowledge
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to real-world problems and situations, challenging received knowledge,
understanding multiple perspectives, debating diverse viewpoints, unpacking
underlying assumptions, and engaging productively in cross-cultural discussion”
(Cochran-Smith, Gleeson & Mitchell, 2010, p. 37). For teaching-learning
instruction to realise these goals, teachers need to use a pedagogy that exposes
learners to a wide range of knowledge opportunities, such as the development of
essential basic skills, expansion of deep insight, attitudes and values crucial for
participation in a democratic society.
4.3 Limited pedagogic knowledge: some observations
Teachers’ knowledge of pedagogic application is sometimes limited, thereby
depriving learners of critical thinking and robust discussions around social issues.
For example, in one of the English lessons that was observed, Mrs Thabethe was
teaching Grade 10s John Donne’s “Death be not proud”. Her pedagogic style
emulated banking education (Freire, 1970). At the beginning of the lesson learners
were required to recollect what was discussed in the classroom in a previous
lesson. Learners in this instance repeated what they were taught, with Mrs
Thabethe prohibiting them from providing their own views by saying, “No…
Don’t guess”. This could have a negative impact on the learners’ education, by
discouraging them. It can discourage learners from engaging in dialogue that
requires their views. What is noticeable in Mrs Thabethe’s lesson is that, in the
analysis of the poem, when learners could have critically engaged with the poem,
they were deprived of the opportunity to actively participate.
[1] Mrs Thabethe: Alright. I have done line number one, akere [right]? I have said
to you in line number one we have got a figure of speech which
we say is an apostrophe. (Explains what and why it is an
apostrophe in line one).
[2] Class: Ooh!
[3] Mrs Thabethe: (Reads line 2 and explains) So, here. The speaker is saying that
‘Death’ you must not be proud, meaning that he is saying ‘Death’
must get rid of his pride, the pride that he carries. Then, he
explains to us why he says ‘Death’ is proud. He says ‘Death’ you
are proud because a lot of people have called you ‘Mighty’, a lot
of people have said that you are ‘dreadful’, but you are not. Are
we together?
[4] Few learners: Yes!
[5] Mrs Thabethe: (Reads line 3 and explains) So, here, he continues again to say
there are people that think that you can overthrow them.
Remember, when we speak of death, we say your life has ended.
So, we assume that it stops when death comes in, meaning that
you don’t have life anymore. Are we together?
[6] Learners: Yes!
[7] Mrs Thabethe: But, here, he says you are not what those people make you to think
that you are. And, then, you are incapable of overthrowing. Are
we together?
[8] Class: (Softly) Yes.
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[9] Mrs Thabethe: (Reads line 4 and explains) So, now, he is telling ‘Death’ that you
cannot kill me, meaning that my life cannot end when you get to
it. Are we together?
[10] Class: (Softly) Yes.
[11] Mrs Thabethe: Hale thotse lea ntshabisa [You are scaring me when you are
quiet].
[12] Class: (Laughs)… (Lesson observation extract 2, 08 October 2020).
In this extract, the poem is being analysed by Mrs Thabethe. The teacher is
reading, evaluating and explaining the meaning of the poem to learners. Her role
and that of the learners in this lesson clearly shows that the lesson lacks any form
of critical engagement. She reads and explains the poem without discussing it
with the class, or without giving learners the opportunity to express their
thoughts or contribute to the deconstruction of the poem. This can be seen in
turns 3, 5, 7 and 9, which point to the fact that learners receive content in the
method relative to a rote learning. This is once again reminiscent of Freire’s
banking education, as referred to earlier. This means that the teacher deposits
content into the children’s minds, and they receive it without being critically
engaged. The only time Mrs Thabethe engages learners in the lesson is when she
wants to know whether or not they understand, as she repeatedly asks “Are we
together” to which they chorus “Yes” or “no”. As a result, learners are
disengaged. They do not really understand anything, the question is rhetorical.
This is evident in turns 8 and 10 when they expressed their response with a soft
“Yes”, an emergence that bothered Mrs Thabethe to the extent that she told them
their silence was scaring her.
This contradicts what Mrs Thabethe claims to do when teaching for a cohesive
society in her interview:
“I allow for learners to investigate and see life through the eyes of others,
through giving open ended questions, speech and transactional writing
topics. This helps learners realise that the world as they know it is not all
there is to know.” (Interview with Mrs Thabethe).
Her assertion presupposes a vibrant lesson characterised by active participation
of the learners in which the teacher seeks to promote critical thinking by asking
unrestricted questions to give learners opportunity to explore the content. It is
also evident in her articulation that she understands the importance of allowing
learners to examine the content on their own to understand “through the eyes of
others”. In this instance, Mrs Thabethe seems to value learners’ thinking
capabilities, and their critical engagement. Perhaps, this equates to a dialogue-
based teaching-learning pedagogy, which correlates with critical pedagogy in
which “the thoughts, language use, and everyday lives of the illiterates” are
appreciated, and “[the] students are cognitively animated to reflect instead of
waiting for the educator to explain for them and to them what things mean and
what to believe” (Shor, Marjanovic-Shane, Matusov & Cresswell, 2017, p. 9).
Although Mrs Thabethe understands the significance of learners’ critical
engagement in the lesson, she does not put this into practice. Rather, her lesson
seems to undermine the value of empowering learners to be critical thinkers. Her
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lesson appears to promote rote learning through the following aspects of banking
education, which, according to Freire (1970, p. 73), do not liberate society, namely:
• the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
• the teacher knows everything, and the students know nothing;
• the teacher thinks and students are thought about; and
• the teacher talks and the students listen–meekly.
For the development of critical thinking among learners, the teacher must provide
learners with moments to actively participate in discussions and to engage
dialogically rather than encouraging passivity (Murawski, 2014).
5. Conclusion
This paper has engaged in discussion around English teachers’ understandings of
a cohesive society. Essentially, the study found that teachers have knowledge of a
cohesive society. However, despite their theoretical understanding of a cohesive
society, their practice suggests inconsistency between their understandings and
their praxis. The teachers’ praxis did not always align with effective actions
towards social transformation. The English lessons that were observed, presented
failed opportunities for critical learner engagement. The teachers also appear to
lack vital pedagogic knowledge. Learners were often left listening or responding
chorally, rather than engaging with the teacher. This suggests, although not
generalisable, that teaching and learning practices in this study sorely lack
development towards social justice and cohesion, as is presented in curriculum
policy documents. A limitation of the research was the limited number of
participants, an occurrence as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which
the research was conducted.
These observations bear major implications for further research. Such research
could involve revisiting and critically analysing policy documents such as the
curriculum policies to establish what is prescribed for teachers to implement in
the classroom. If teachers are not abiding by curriculum policies, it is important to
recognise reasons for this occurrence. This could be because of time constraints in
classrooms, or that curriculum documents are presenting already overburdened
teachers with more than which they can cope. It could also be that teachers,
although they say they understand concepts such as social justice and cohesion,
are unable to implement such in their lessons. Another major setback could be the
lack of teacher pedagogic knowledge which might require regular upgrading.
Together with pedagogic content knowledge lies the teacher’s ideological stance.
If the curriculum stipulates core overarching issues such as social justice,
transformation and social cohesion, these will not be taken to the classroom if they
lie in opposition to teacher beliefs.
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©Authors
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 15-34, January 2023
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.22.1.2
Received Sep 9, 2022; Revised Nov 19, 2022; Accepted Dec 15, 2023
Challenges of Implementing the Individualized
Education Plan (IEP) for Special Needs Children
with Learning Disabilities:
Systematic Literature Review (SLR)
Syar Meeze Mohd Rashid and Mei Ti Wong
University Kebangsaan Malaysia
Selangor, Malaysia
Abstract. This study identified teacher challenges in the implementation
of the individualized education plan (IEP) for special educational
needs (SEN) children with learning disabilities (LD). A systematic
literature review (SLR) was conducted to identify and synthesize the
literature on this topic. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria and were
included in the analysis. Most of the findings indicated that teachers face
challenges in all three aspects of competency challenges, that is
knowledge, skill, and attitude challenges. Lack of knowledge on criterion-
referenced tests (f = 3; 42%) can be considered as the biggest knowledge
challenge faced by teachers. The biggest skill challenge was also found in
the evaluation process, with teachers being less efficient in carrying out
the evaluation process (f = 4; 57%). In terms of attitude challenges, the
lack of motivation (f = 4; 66%) in implementing the IEP for LD children is
the most common challenge encountered by teachers. Therefore, the
results of the analysis and research carried out can serve as a guide and
reference for educators, the Ministry of Education (MOE), and future
researchers in an effort to solve teachers’ competency challenges in the
IEP implementation process. However, additional high-quality research
or an empirical study should be conducted to verify the validity of the
conceptual framework formed by conducting a survey study in Malaysia.
Keywords: challenges; IEP implementation; learning disabilities;
systematic literature review (SLR); teachers
1. Introduction
The field of special education is one of the important branches of education
(Lindqvist et al., 2020). Special education in Malaysia has grown rapidly since the
1920s, when the need for education for students with special educational needs
(SEN) was recognized among Malaysians (Ghani & Ahmad, 2011). According to
the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025 (Malaysia. Ministry of Education
[MOE], 2012), the development of special education is aligned with the motto
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“Education for All (EFA)”. Therefore, the MOE provides opportunities and rights
for all children to receive a quality education regardless of their intelligence level
or social background (Hana et al., 2022). In Malaysia, special education is divided
into three categories: learning disability (LD), hearing impaired, and visually
impaired. Based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025, there are three
school systems that can be accessed by children with SEN: special education
schools, the Special Education Integration Program (SEIP), and an inclusive
education program that is provided at various stages, such as preschool, primary
school, and secondary school.
According to the MOE (Malaysia, 2021), as many as 2586 schools implement the
SEIP for the welfare of SEN children with LD. Therefore, LD students can be
considered as the majority group in the special education system in Malaysia. Burr
et al. (2015) specifically defined LD as “a neurological condition that interferes
with an individual’s ability to store, process, or produce information” (p. 3).
Therefore, LD can affect a student’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, do math
computation, or reason and cause them to underperform in one or more of these
skills. In addition, it can affect their attention, memory, coordination, social skills,
and emotional maturity.
Most schools around the world have used the individualized education plan (IEP)
as one of the most significant and main educational strategies in education that
includes children with SEN (Elder et al., 2018; Timothy & Agbenyega, 2018). At
the same time, Akcin (2022) also reported that a minority of teachers in their study,
that is only 133 (13.3%) out of 1409, thought that the IEP was unnecessary. As
such, this study can prove that the majority of teachers are aware of the
importance and needs of the IEP for LD children. The IEP is a type of written
document specifically designed to validate the results of decisions about
educational needs and service programs that are required by children with SEN
through the discussion among members of a multidisciplinary group (Tran et al.,
2018; Walther-Thomas et al., 2000). Through the implementation of an IEP,
children with SEN can benefit from the special education system and planned
interventions or support (Kauffman et al., 2018). Groh (2021) also stated that the
IEP can serve as a nucleus in providing free and appropriate public education
(FAPE). This is because there is no other document that can function more
comprehensively in ensuring the effectiveness of an educational program in terms
of design, implementation, monitoring, and compliance with the established
legislation when compared to the IEP (Rotter, 2014).
The importance of the IEP in the special education system is also evidenced by the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, programs and
services required by children with SEN will be determined through the IEP
(Siegel, 2020). All IEP implementation processes are protected by the existence of
this IDEA legislation. This means that the act can dictate the path or procedure for
implementing this IEP service for children with disabilities from birth through 21
years of age. Moreover, IDEA can also ensure the right of SEN children to receive
FAPE in the most “least restrictive” environment.
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In addition, teachers and parents play an important role in influencing the
development of children with SEN (Matheis et al., 2017; Subotnik et al., 2011).
According to Fu et al. (2018), teachers can be considered as the key to success in
IEP implementation. This is because as an educator, special education teachers
should plan an IEP based on needs as well as implement the IEP in the daily life
of children with SEN, especially during school hours. Fu et al. (2018) also stated
that the teacher’s perspective on the IEP implementation process greatly affects
the quality of the constructed IEP. This statement is in line with Bae’s study (2018),
which proved that the quality of teachers at the school level can have a major
impact on student performance. This is because, as educators, teachers have
placed high hopes on developing an IEP based on the needs of children with SEN
by implementing routinely planned interventions in the classroom.
Through a review of research on the effectiveness of IEP implementation for LD
children, we found that several studies conducted during the first decade of the
21st century reported difficulties in using IEPs in schools. For example, studies
conducted by Andreasson et al. (2013) and Giota and Emanuelsson (2011) have
shown that the IEP has become a fairly common practice in schools. However,
both studies found that the IEP is not implemented on a quarter of SEN children
in the schools. Meanwhile, Kritzer (2011) also reported that the difficulty of
implementing the IEP in China is due to a special education system that is not
consistent between schools, cities, and states, respectively.
Since the IEP is very important to every LD child, the challenges in the IEP
implementation process should be identified early so that various efforts can be
made in overcoming the challenges encountered. Teachers face various IEP
implementation challenges in practicing the IEP for all children with SEN in the
school. These challenges include lack of separate and adequate time for
preparation of an IEP, not knowing how to prepare an IEP, and lack of a variety
of materials in IEP implementation (Akcin, 2022). With this background, this
systematic literature review (SLR) is conducted with the aim of analyzing articles
related to the challenges of IEP implementation for SEN children with LD. The
analysis was carried out to identify the most common competency challenges that
educators face in the IEP implementation process. Through the main results
established, a conceptual framework can be developed based on the conducted
analysis. At the same time, the results of the analysis and research carried out can
be used as a guide and reference for educators, the MOE, and future researchers
in an effort to solve problems or challenges in IEP implementation faced by
teachers, whether special education or mainstream teachers, so that LD children
can truly benefit from the IEP implementation process.
2. Methodology
This study was conducted using the SLR method. The goal with conducting an
SLR is to identify all empirical evidence that meets established article selection
criteria in answering a particular research question or hypothesis (Moher et al.,
2009). This is because the SLR requires use of explicit and systematic methods
when searching and reviewing evidence and thus allows analysis of information.
In this study, the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-
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analyses (PRISMA) flowchart was also used in the process of selecting articles that
are relevant to the research question presented (Moher et al., 2010, 2015; Page et
al., 2021). The four stages of article selection based on the PRISMA flowchart
include identification, screening, eligibility, and inclusion of articles in the
conducted SLR study (Page et al., 2021). Therefore, this SLR study included five
key aspects for the articles obtained: search strategy, selection criteria, selection
process, data collection, and data analysis.
2.1 Article Search Strategy
Two leading databases, namely Google Scholar and Educational Resources
Information Center (ERIC), were consulted and used in the article search process
for the SLR conducted. According to Joklitschke et al. (2018), the most important
aspect in the article search process is the search term or keyword used. Two sets
of keywords were used in this study. The first set consisted of keywords related
to IEP, such as “Individualized Education Plan (IEP)”, “IEP process”, and “IEP
implementation”. The second set was themed around educators’ challenges using
the keywords “teachers’ challenges” and “teachers’ barriers”. Both sets of
keywords were combined with a Boolean search (AND, OR) in the article search
process. Using the keywords, the articles displayed on the database were related
to the challenges faced by teachers in the IEP implementation process for LD
children.
2.2 Article Selection Criteria
According to Xiao and Watson (2019), survey research which involves the
comparison of a group of literature sources needs a clear and robust process for
establishing criteria in article selection. Therefore, this study set certain criteria to
facilitate the literature search process. The four specified selection criteria for
accepting or rejecting articles included year of publication, language, type of
reference material, and study field of journal articles, as shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Article acceptance and rejection criteria
Criterion Acceptance Rejection
Year of
publication
Publication of journal
articles within the last five
years (2018 to 2022).
Publication before 2018.
Language English. Malay, Indonesian, Chinese, and other
languages.
Type of
reference
material
Journal articles. Theses, proceedings, conference
papers, and books.
Field of
journal article
study
The field of special
education services for SEN
students with LD in the
school context.
Any fields apart from the field of special
education or the field of special
education services for SEN students
with LD in the school context.
In terms of the criteria for the year of publication, only articles published within
the last five years were accepted, that is from 2018 to 2022. Selection of articles
limited to the last five years can be considered as a period of search topics that are
still hotly discussed and include current affairs or issues. Second, regarding the
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language of the articles, only articles in English were selected from the two
popular databases and included in this study. Third, in terms of the criterion for
selecting the type of reference material, only journal articles were used in this
study. Theses, proceedings, conference papers, and books were excluded as
sources in this study. This is because journal articles can be considered as
reference materials that have complete and detailed reporting. Since LD students
are the majority group in the special education system, this study only accepted
articles in the field of special education services for SEN students with LD in the
school context only.
2.3 Article Selection Process
The article selection process for the SLR was conducted in July 2022. Figure 1
shows the flowchart of the article selection process adapted from the PRISMA
flowchart (Tawfik et al., 2019).
Figure 1: Flowchart of article selection process
As seen in Figure 1, this study included four main stages in the article selection
process. At the identification stage, 15,597 articles were identified using the two
databases. The next step involved screening the articles using the acceptance
criteria listed in Table 1 before the articles were included in the eligibility stage for
a more thorough and detailed screening.
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At the eligibility stage, there were four additional criteria for article exclusion
before the article was included in the SLR study. These were: articles without full
text (n = 30), study titles that did not fit the context of the study (n = 20), identical
articles from the two databases (n = 9), and articles that did not meet the criteria
for acceptance of the study and that were in the form of a review (n = 19). On the
other hand, four additional acceptance criteria included: articles that have full
text; articles with titles that fit the context of the study; articles that are not
duplicated; and articles that meet the acceptance criteria of the study, such as
articles that have empirical data and are not in the form of reviews.
After reviewing and examining the 90 journal articles that we downloaded, only
12 were identified for use. This means that all 12 articles successfully met all the
selection criteria and were included in the SLR.
2.4 Data Collection and Data Analysis
The data collection process was carried out using the 12 journal articles obtained
from the two databases, namely Google Scholar and ERIC. Table 2 shows the 12
articles, along with the publication year, country, and purpose of the study. All
the selected articles met the acceptance and rejection criteria that were set. Data
were collected for each article by abstracting the title, name of author(s), year,
study purpose, and teacher challenges in implementing the IEP into a table built
using Microsoft Excel 2019 software. Meanwhile, data analysis was carried out by
using a table and by categorizing the teacher challenges found in each article. The
results of the data analysis are also presented in the form of tables.
According to Kumar (2011), an SLR study also aims to develop a conceptual
framework based on the findings of previous studies. This is because the
conceptual framework that was built can be used as a reference that can contribute
to the literature section of the study in the future. Therefore, the results of the data
analysis of this SLR study concerning the challenges of teachers in implementing
the IEP for LD children that were most often found in literature were used in
developing a conceptual framework.
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Table 2: List of reviewed research articles
No.
Author and
year of
publication
Country
Study title
Journal
name
Study purpose
1 Fu et al.
(2018)
China A social–cultural analysis of the IEP practice in
special education schools in China
International
Journal of
Developmenta
l Disabilities
To identify the perspective of special
education teachers about the use of the IEP
and how they implement the IEP.
2 Ruble et al.
(2018)
United
States
Special education teachers’ perceptions and
intentions toward data collection
Journal of
Early
Intervention
To identify internal and external factors
related to special education teachers’
views on the data collection process in the
IEP implementation process by using the
theory of planned behavior (TPB).
3 Al-Shammari
and Hornby
(2019)
Kuwait Special education teachers’ knowledge and
experience of IEPs in the education of students
with special educational needs
International
Journal of
Disability,
Development
and Education
To identify the level of knowledge and
experience of special education teachers in
Kuwaiti primary schools who implement
inclusive education in the process of
preparing IEP reports and implementing
and evaluating the IEP.
4 Baglama et
al.
(2019)
Turkey Special education teachers’ attitudes towards
developing individualized education programs
and challenges in this process
Near East
University
Online
Journal of
Education
(NEUJE)
To identify the attitudes of special
education teachers working in special
education centers in the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as well as the
challenges faced in the IEP
implementation process.
5 Senay and
Konuk
(2019)
Turkey Evaluating parent participation in individualized
education programs by opinions of parents and
teachers
Journal of
Education and
Training
Studies
To identify the opinions of parents and
special education teachers in the
involvement of parents in the IEP
implementation process.
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6 Karaca et al.
(2020)
Turkey An investigation of the Turkish preservice
teachers’ attitudes towards individualized
education program development process
Journal of
Education and
Practice
To identify the attitudes of trainee teachers
in Turkish universities about the IEP
implementation process.
7 Almoghyrah
(2021)
Saudi
Arabia
The challenges of implementing individualised
education plans with children with Down
syndrome at mainstream schools in Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia: Teachers’ perspectives
International
Journal of
Disability,
Development
and Education
To identify the challenges of teachers in
implementing the IEP for Down syndrome
children who study in mainstream classes
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
8 Hott et al.
(2021)
North
America
Lessons learned from a descriptive review of rural
individualized education programs
The Journal of
Special
Education
To evaluate the level of academic
performance and functionality during the
IEP report, IEP goals as well as the IEP
implementation monitoring process
through examining 133 sets of IEP reports
from seven schools in the rural areas of
eastern North America.
9 Akcin
(2022)
Turkey Identification of the processes of preparing
individualized education programs (IEP) by
special education teachers, and of problems
encountered therein
Educational
Research and
Reviews
To identify the problems or challenges
faced by special education teachers in the
process of preparing IEPs.
10 Goodwin et
al.
(2022)
United
States
Examining the quality of individualized
education plan (IEP) goals for children with
traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Communicatio
n Disorders
Quarterly
To identify the quality of IEP goals set for
children with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
11 Kozikoğlu
and
Albayrak
(2022)
Turkey Teachers’ attitudes and the challenges they
experience concerning individualized education
program (IEP): A mixed method study
Participatory
Educational
Research
(PER)
To identify the attitudes and challenges of
teachers in the IEP implementation
process.
12 Shao et al.
(2022)
China Investigation and research on the current
situation of IEP formulation and implementation
in Guangxi special education schools
Adult and
Higher
Education
To identify the phenomenon of IEP
implementation in schools.
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International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
3. Findings
The SLR revealed that the challenges identified in all reviewed research articles
can be divided into three groups of teacher competency challenges in the IEP
implementation process, namely the challenges of knowledge, skills, and
attitudes.
3.1 Teacher Knowledge Challenges
Three aspects of teachers’ challenges with knowledge were identified in the
reviewed studies (Table 3). These are criterion-referenced tests, IEP concept, and
ability level of LD children.
Table 3 : List of reviewed articles according to aspects of teacher knowledge
challenges
Four of the reviewed studies reported that teachers, especially special education
teachers, lacked knowledge on how to collect data towards LD children’s
development process. These teachers also lacked awareness about the importance
of using criterion-referenced tests in collecting information (Akcin, 2022;
Al-Shammari & Hornby, 2019; Fu et al., 2018; Hott et al., 2021). As seen in Table 3,
lack of knowledge about criterion-referenced tests (f = 3; 42%) can be considered
the biggest knowledge challenge faced by teachers.
Regarding the aspect of IEP concept, studies by Fu et al. (2018) and Kozikoğlu and
Albayrak (2022) showed that many teachers (f = 2; 29%) still do not understand
the concept of IEP, thus affecting the IEP implementation process. The
phenomenon of insufficient understanding of the IEP concept is directly linked to
teachers’ lack of knowledge about the support materials that are available for IEP
learning and the activities that can be carried out to facilitate the IEP
implementation process (Kozikoğlu & Albayrak, 2022).
For the last aspect, ability level of LD children, two articles addressed this
challenge (Almoghyrah, 2021; Shao et al., 2022). Teachers will also directly
Reviewed
study
Aspects of teacher knowledge challenges
Criterion-
referenced tests
IEP concept Ability level of LD children
Akcin (2022) X
Almoghyrah
(2021)
X
Al-Shammari
and Hornby
(2019)
X
Fu et al. (2018) X
Hott et al.
(2021)
X
Kozikoğlu and
Albayrak (2022)
X
Shao et al.
(2022)
X
Frequency (f) 3 2 2
Percentage (%) 42 29 29
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experience the challenge of lack of knowledge about the special education services
required by an SEN child. However, Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) found that
there are also special education teachers (i.e., non-Kuwaiti special education
teachers) who have a high level of knowledge, especially in the process of
preparing IEP reports. Goodwin et al. (2022) also reported that teachers were
knowledgeable in providing measurable IEP goals for SEN children with TBI.
3.2 Teacher Skills Challenges
Six of the reviewed articles reported that teachers are facing skill challenges in the
IEP implementation process (Table 4). The three aspects involved here were IEP
report preparation, collaboration, and evaluation process.
Table 4: List of reviewed articles according to aspects of teacher skill challenges
Reviewed study
Aspects of teacher skill challenges
IEP report preparation Collaboration
Evaluation
process
Akcin (2022) X
Al-Shammari and
Hornby (2019)
X
Hott et al. (2021) X X
Kozikoğlu and
Albayrak (2022)
X
Shao et al. (2022) X
Senay and Konuk
(2019)
X
Frequency (f) 1 2 4
Percentage (%) 14 29 57
Regarding the process of preparing the IEP report, one study showed that teachers
can be considered to lack the ability to prepare a complete report (f = 1; 14%),
especially in terms of the level of achievement and functionality of SEN children
(Hott et al., 2021).
Considering the IEP implementation process, two articles showed that teachers
still lacked the skills to collaborate with parents (f = 2; 29%), hence the IEP carried
out being less effective (Senay & Konuk, 2019; Shao et al., 2022).
Furthermore, teachers have also been assumed to experience big challenges in the
IEP evaluation process (f = 4; 57%). This is because teachers still lack skills in terms
of monitoring to identify the effectiveness of the IEP conducted, such as not being
skilled in using criterion-referenced tests and being less efficient in identifying the
level of development of SEN children after the IEP intervention has been carried
out (Akcin, 2022; Al-Shammari & Hornby, 2019; Hott et al., 2021; Kozikoğlu &
Albayrak, 2022). However, the study of Shao et al. (2022) also found that special
education teachers can be considered capable of coordinating IEP interventions
by following the SEN children’s ability level throughout the IEP implementation
process.
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3.3 Teacher Attitude Challenges
Four of the reviewed articles were related to the challenges of teachers’ negative
attitudes towards the IEP implementation process (Table 5). The relevant aspects
identified here were lack of motivation, negative attitude towards collaboration,
and lack of confidence.
Table 5: List of reviewed articles according to aspects of teacher attitude challenges
Reviewed article
Aspects of teacher attitude challenges
Lack of
motivation
Negative attitude
towards
collaboration
Lack of confidence
Akcin (2022) X X
Baglama et al.
(2019)
X
Shao et al. (2022) X
Fu et al. (2018) X X
Frequency (f) 4 1 1
Percentage (%) 66 17 17
Table 5 shows that among the biggest challenges of teacher attitudes was lack of
motivation (f = 4; 66%) (Akcin, 2022; Baglama et al., 2019; Fu et al., 2018; Shao et
al., 2022). It was also found that teachers have a negative attitude towards
collaboration (f = 1; 17%) (Akcin, 2022) and lack of confidence (f = 1; 17%) (Fu
et al., 2018) to implement the IEP.
However, three of the reviewed articles contradicted the findings of teacher
negative attitudes towards the IEP implementation process. The three studies
found that teachers showed a positive attitude towards all stages in the IEP
implementation processes (Karaca et al., 2020; Kozikoğlu & Albayrak, 2022; Ruble
et al., 2018).
3.4 Conceptual Framework
Teacher challenges in the IEP implementation process as identified in the
reviewed articles can be grouped into three main themes, namely challenges of
teachers’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, respectively. We designed a conceptual
framework (Figure 2) of teacher challenges in the three phases of the IEP
implementation process for LD children, namely the preparation,
implementation, and evaluation phases.
Figure 2: Conceptual framework of the study
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Teacher competency has been used as a determinant of the challenge of
implementing the IEP in schools. Among the factors that are taken into account to
identify teacher challenges are knowledge level, skill level, and attitude. The
components of teacher competency considered in determining the challenges
teachers face in the IEP implementation process are consistent with Spencer and
Spencer’s (1993) Iceberg Competency Model. Referring to Spencer and Spencer’s
Competency Model, there are seven categories of competencies which can be
divided into two groups. The first group includes the competencies above the
water level, which comprises knowledge and skills. The second group includes
the competencies below the water level, that is values, social roles, self-image,
traits, and motives. The five components below the water level have been
combined to make up one of the teacher competency components, that is in terms
of attitude. Using this conceptual framework as a guide, we can clearly identify
the challenges teachers face in implementing the IEP in terms of teacher
competency, that is their level of knowledge, skill level, and attitude.
4. Discussion
The purpose of this SLR study was to identify the most common challenges faced
by teachers in the IEP implementation process for LD children. At the same time,
the findings of this study were used to develop a conceptual framework based on
the challenges of teachers most often found in past empirical studies. Twelve
research articles were included in the SLR based on the acceptance criteria that
were set.
The IEP was first introduced in the United States by the Education for All All
Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (Sacks & Halder, 2017). However, the IEP has
grown considerably so that most countries in the world are willing to implement
it in their education systems. This is because the elements in the IEP are very
appropriate and meet the needs of children with LD. Moreover, the special
education system in Malaysia has also grown rapidly since 1990. According to
Jelas and Mohd Ali (2012), a pre-service special education teacher training
program was started through the collaboration of three universities in England in
1993. In October 1995, the Department of Special Education (now known as the
Special Education Division or Bahagian Pendidikan Khas [BPK]) was established
to coordinate the responsibilities of various stakeholders for the success of
Malaysia’s special education system (Lee & Low, 2014). In implementing the
special education curriculum, as per the Education (Special Education)
Regulations (Malaysia. R. 3[4], 1997), teachers may modify the teaching or
learning methods or techniques, the sequence of and time for activities, the
subjects, and the teaching and learning resources in order to achieve the objectives
and aims of special education. Collaboration can be seen as an essential element
in effective IEP implementation (Groh, 2021). According to Al-Natour et al. (2015),
effective collaboration requires effort, perseverance, training, and a willingness to
share responsibility among the team members when making decisions. The
special education teacher can clearly be considered the most significant individual
in developing and building positive relationships with all the stakeholders so that
the IEP can be implemented effectively.
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Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) found that the knowledge of teachers, whether
special education or mainstream teachers, is very significant in each stage of IEP
implementation, that is the report preparation, implementation, and evaluation
stages. Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) discussed the elements that are related to
the knowledge level of special education teachers in the IEP implementation
process. These include having information about the IEP implementation process,
knowing the support materials that can be used to learn the proses of IEP
implementation, and knowing how to obtain support materials. Other elements
involve knowing one’s own responsibility in implementing the IEP, knowing how
to identify the current performance level of LD children, knowing how to
determine annual goals, as well as knowing the activities that can be
implemented. Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) also found that teachers have
insufficient knowledge about the IEP concept. Directly, teachers also lack
knowledge of activities or materials that can be used in enriching the IEP
implementation process. The lack of understanding of the IEP concept is also
reflected in teachers’ differing views on the definition of IEP (Fu et al., 2018).
The challenge of teachers’ knowledge in the process of implementing the IEP
cannot be seen only in terms of understanding the concept of IEP but also in terms
of identifying the ability level of Down syndrome (DS) children (Almoghyrah,
2021; Shao et al., 2022). Results from Almoghyrah’s study (2021) showed that
teachers did not show a high awareness of the characteristics of DS children. This
unawareness attitude can cause teachers to not take into account DS children’s
attitude factor in the process of preparing the IEP report. This phenomenon has
directly affected the IEP implementation process because the IEP goals provided
are not in line with the knowledge level of SEN children. In addition, Shao et al.
(2022) stated that the reason for less relevant IEP goals is because special
education teachers still lack a basic understanding of the actual ability and
knowledge level of SEN children. The phenomenon of mismatch between SEN
children’s needs and IEP support services or interventions is common in special
education systems (Musyoka & Clark, 2017). Bateman (2011) likened a difficult-
to-measure IEP target to “if you don’t know where you are going, you may not
get there” (p. 106). Therefore, Goodwin et al. (2022) strongly encouraged IEP
stakeholders, especially teachers, to set IEP goals that are relevant to SEN
children’s needs, namely goals that are not only measurable but also of high
quality.
One of the biggest knowledge challenges for teachers is the lack of knowledge
about data collection, especially in terms of the use of criterion-referenced tests. A
study by Hott et al. (2021) found that the majority of the IEP goals provided
include several important goals, such as improving functionality in terms of
behavior and academic skills of LD children. However, the main source indicating
IEP goal measurement is too dependent on teacher opinions and observations, not
providing any quantitative measurements that can prove the effectiveness of an
intervention (Hott et al., 2021). This phenomenon is caused by insufficient
knowledge of teachers in developing a criterion-referenced test in making a
detailed assessment (Akcin, 2022; Al-Shammari & Hornby, 2019). The findings of
this SLR study are consistent with those of previous studies. These have shown
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that the content and implementation steps of support services or interventions are
often described in IEP reports, but that the measurement steps are not described
properly (Raty et al., 2018; Ruble et al., 2018; Sanches-Ferreira et al., 2013).
In addition, teachers not only need to be knowledgeable about the types of
assessment instruments that can be used but also skilled in using those assessment
instruments in the right context. For example, they need the ability to collect and
interpret data based on the instruments used (McLeskey et al., 2017). In terms of
IEP reporting, we found that teachers struggled to plan and create IEP reports
according to individual differences between LD children. Next, regarding IEP
implementation, Groh (2021) stated that for LD children to be successful, a
positive collaborative relationship should be established between teachers and LD
children’s families. In Senay and Konuk’s (2019) study, more than half (76%) the
parents were unaware of the purpose of IEP implementation, and some parents
misunderstood IEP as a kind of diagnostic report. A similar phenomenon was also
found in the study of Shao et al. (2022), showing that only 14.29% of parents are
actively involved in the IEP implementation process. Furthermore, Kozikoğlu and
Albayrak (2022) found that the lack of effective communication, sharing, and
collaboration among all stakeholders of the IEP team can make it difficult for
special education teachers throughout the IEP implementation process. Clearly,
the teacher can be seen as the most important agent in building a positive working
relationship with all members of the IEP team for the IEP to be effectively
implemented.
The most common skill challenge faced by teachers is in the assessment process.
Service quality refers to how the special education services provided to SEN
children determine the success of these children (Groh, 2021). The evaluation
process therefore plays a significant role in determining how an IEP has been
implemented. However, Akcin (2022) found that as many as 61% of teachers
indicated that their biggest challenge in the IEP implementation process was
developing measurement tools, especially developing criterion-referenced tests in
determining the development of SEN children. The same findings were made by
Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) and Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022), who
reported that teachers showed a relatively low level of skill in the assessment
process. Monitoring and evaluation procedures that are not clear and not objective
will hinder the IEP implementation process (Hott et al., 2021).
Since emotional factors are the driving force of the learning process (Kasap &
Peterson, 2018; Kasap, 2021), teachers need to adopt a positive attitude towards
the IEP implementation process to implement the IEP effectively. According to
Vaz et al. (2015), one of the factors that can influence the attitude practiced by a
teacher is self-efficacy in educating SEN children. Self-efficacy can be related to
the degree to which a teacher feels that they are able to educate SEN children
effectively (Vaz et al., 2015). Among the biggest challenges of teacher attitudes is
the lack of motivation or enthusiasm to implement the IEP for LD children (Akcin,
2022; Baglama et al., 2019; Fu et al., 2018; Shao et al., 2022). This is due to the
implementation process of the IEP, which involves various administrative tasks
that can directly increase the workload of teachers (Akcin, 2022; Fu et al., 2018;
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Shao et al., 2022). Hannah et al. (2019) also found that a shortage of qualified
teachers in special education systems makes it difficult to implement programs
related to special education. At the same time, Baglama et al. (2019) showed that
in-service training duration of teachers on IEP implementation can influence their
attitudes towards IEP. Their study showed that teachers who underwent longer
service training displayed more positive attitudes and were more motivated to
implement the IEP. The atmosphere of a teacher’s work environment and the
length of time for which they receive in-service training on IEP can thus clearly
influence their attitudes towards the IEP implementation process.
Furthermore, Akcin (2022) also reported that most teachers have a negative view
of collaboration in the IEP implementation process. This is because SEN children’s
parents who have too high and unrealistic expectations for their children’s
development have directly increased the pressure on teachers when discussing all
the IEP implementation processes. In this regard, teachers always show fear of
collaborative activities, especially when having discussions with parents. Not
only that, the study of Fu et al. (2018) showed the challenge of teacher attitudes in
terms of lack of confidence. Teachers are often considered to lack confidence in
implementing the IEP goals for each LD child in the classroom context. This is due
to teachers still lacking confidence to manage and educate each LD child in a
different way in the same classroom (Fu et al., 2018).
However, not all findings from the 12 reviewed articles indicated that teachers
face challenges in all three aspects of competency challenges. For example, Al-
Shammari and Hornby (2019) found that special education teachers have different
levels of knowledge and experience, and that some teachers consider themselves
to have good skills in implementing the IEP. In addition, some teachers feel less
competent to implement the IEP. Therefore, after examining various studies that
have been carried out, it was determined that the challenges of teachers in the
process of implementing the IEP need to be identified so that various
improvement efforts can be carried out to ensure that high-quality IEP services
are provided to LD children.
5. Limitations of the Study
This study had several limitations. First, even though the SLR conducted could
reduce biased selection, there is still a high probability that other databases
contain articles that meet the selection criteria. This is because, in this SLR study,
articles from only two databases were involved.
The second limitation is the use of keywords or a small data set, which led to some
articles not being included in this SLR study. This situation occurs because there
are articles that discuss the challenges of teachers in the IEP implementation
process but are labeled using different names or keywords.
The third limitation is that only full-text articles were selected for review. Articles
that are similar but did not have the full text were thus excluded. Some databases
require payment for full-text articles, which thus led to the exclusion of several
articles related to SLR research.
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To strengthen this SLR study, the procedures of the study can be improved. In
this regard, an empirical study should be conducted to verify the validity of the
conceptual framework formed by conducting a survey study in Malaysia.
Moreover, systematic and organized research and examination also needs to be
conducted to examine whether the challenges identified are the greatest
challenges for teachers in implementing the IEP or whether there are yet other
challenges that have not been explored. This is because if there are other
challenges, the conceptual framework developed needs to be modified or refined
based on the latest research findings. The improvements made can thus allow for
more robust and reliable research findings in the future.
6. Conclusion
This SLR study sought to identify the most common competency challenges faced
by educators in the IEP implementation process and to develop a conceptual
framework based on the conducted analysis. This study was conducted by using
articles from two leading databases, namely ERIC and Google Scholar. Based on
the screening conducted, a total of 12 articles that meet all the criteria were
identified. The results of the analysis showed that the phenomenon of insufficient
knowledge in criterion-referenced tests is the biggest knowledge challenge faced
by teachers. In terms of skill challenges, the biggest challenge experienced by
teachers is doing the assessment process. Insufficient knowledge and skill in the
evaluation process will result in difficulty measuring the effectiveness of an
intervention or the development of an LD student. In terms of attitude challenges,
teachers were found to lack motivation in implementing the IEP for LD children.
However, several articles showed totally opposite results, namely that teachers
have sufficient knowledge and skills and are positive in implementing the IEP. As
such, to strengthen the research conducted, researchers need to use more general
keywords so that all categories of articles related to the study to be conducted can
be included in the study.
Acknowledgement
We thank the FPEND Futuristic Learning Special Research Fund GG-2021-010 for
the support.
7. References
Akcin, F. N. (2022). Identification of the processes of preparing individualized education
programs (IEP) by special education teachers, and of problems encountered
therein. Educational Research and Reviews, 17(1), 31–45.
https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2021.4217
Almoghyrah, H. (2021). The challenges of implementing individualised education plans
with children with Down syndrome at mainstream schools in Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia: Teachers’ perspectives. International Journal of Disability, Development and
Education, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912x.2020.1870666
Al-Natour, M., Amr, M., Al-Zboon, E., & Alkhamra, H. (2015). Examining collaboration
and constrains on collaboration between special and general education teachers
in mainstream schools in Jordan. International Journal of Special Education, 30(1),
64−77.
Al-Shammari, Z., & Hornby, G. (2019). Special education teachers’ knowledge and
experience of IEPs in the education of students with special educational needs.
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IJLTER.ORG Vol 22 No 1 January 2023

  • 1. International Journal of Learning, Teaching And Educational Research p-ISSN: 1694-2493 e-ISSN: 1694-2116 IJLTER.ORG Vol.22 No.1
  • 2. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER) Vol. 22, No. 1 (January 2023) Print version: 1694-2493 Online version: 1694-2116 IJLTER International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER) Vol. 22, No. 1 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically those of translation, reprinting, re-use of illustrations, broadcasting, reproduction by photocopying machines or similar means, and storage in data banks. Society for Research and Knowledge Management
  • 3. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal which has been established for the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge in the fields of learning, teaching and educational research. Aims and Objectives The main objective of this journal is to provide a platform for educators, teachers, trainers, academicians, scientists and researchers from over the world to present the results of their research activities in the following fields: innovative methodologies in learning, teaching and assessment; multimedia in digital learning; e-learning; m-learning; e-education; knowledge management; infrastructure support for online learning; virtual learning environments; open education; ICT and education; digital classrooms; blended learning; social networks and education; e- tutoring: learning management systems; educational portals, classroom management issues, educational case studies, etc. Indexing and Abstracting The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is indexed in Scopus since 2018. The Journal is also indexed in Google Scholar and CNKI. All articles published in IJLTER are assigned a unique DOI number.
  • 4. Foreword We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website http://www.ijlter.org. We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue. Editors of the January 2023 Issue
  • 5. VOLUME 22 NUMBER 1 January 2023 Table of Contents “Mending Bridges”: English Teachers Teaching for Social Cohesion..............................................................................1 Vincent Nojaja, Leila Kajee Challenges of Implementing the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Special Needs Children with Learning Disabilities: Systematic Literature Review (SLR).............................................................................................................. 15 Syar Meeze Mohd Rashid, Mei Ti Wong Impact of a Positive Classroom Climate on Sixth Graders’ Motivation to Learn Mathematics at Northern Israel’s Arab Minority Schools ......................................................................................................................................................... 35 Nabil Assadi Special Education Teacher’s Application of Entrepreneurial Elements in Teaching and Facilitation....................... 55 Syar Meeze Mohd Rashid, Norfatimah A. Ghani Integrative Principals’ Leadership Behaviour Approach to Improve Student Academic Outcomes in Ethiopian Secondary Schools ................................................................................................................................................................ 72 RJ (Nico) Botha, Seyoum Gari Aleme Students’ Perceptions of Biology Teachers’ Enacted Pedagogical Content Knowledge at Selected Secondary Schools in Lusaka Province of Zambia .............................................................................................................................. 94 Thumah Mapulanga, Gilbert Nshogoza, Ameyaw Yaw Postgraduate Science Students’ Impressions and Experiences of Online Pedagogical Practices: Implications for Technology-Enhanced Pedagogy ..................................................................................................................................... 112 Sam Ramaila, Lydia Mavuru The Impact of KaniMani Storytelling Mobile Application (KM-SMA) on Tamil Students’ Speaking Skills and Motivation in Learning Tamil ........................................................................................................................................... 129 Khasturi Ramalingam, Yeo Kee Jiar Contribution of Academia Colleague as a Clinical Model to the Professional Development of Pre-Service Teachers ............................................................................................................................................................................... 143 Seham Hamza, Nabil Assadi, Tareq Murad, Muhammad Ibdah Effects of Interactive Mathematics Software on Grade-5 Learners’ Performance...................................................... 166 Innocente Uwineza, Alphonse Uworwabayeho, Kenya Yokoyama The Effectiveness of Online Learning during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Malaysia .................................................. 191 Nurhanani Romli, Mohd Faiz Mohamed Yusof, Yap Tsvey Peng, Nurul Hila Zainuddin Flipped Classroom in a Digital Learning Space: Its Effect on the Students’ Attitude Toward Mathematics ......... 210 Anton A. Romero, Edarlyn D. Angeles
  • 6. Exploring Foreign Teachers’ Perceptions of Communication with Students in Online Learning in China: A Case Study..................................................................................................................................................................................... 228 Jing Guo, Adelina Asmawi Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Accounting Students’ Capability to Use Technology ........................................ 247 Mujeeb Saif Mohsen Al-Absy Implementing the Engage, Study, Activate Approach Using Technological Tools in Higher Education .............. 268 Paola Cabrera-Solano, Cesar Ochoa-Cueva, Luz Castillo-Cuesta Examining the Relationship Between Components of the MUSIC Model of Motivation and Student Achievement in Computer Programming ............................................................................................................................................... 283 Ali Alshammari Typology of History Teachers in 21st-Century Learning (Grounded Theory Study in Senior High School in Indonesia) ............................................................................................................................................................................ 302 Ema Agustina, Didin Saripudin, Leli Yulifar, Encep Supriatna Portrait of Education in Indonesia: Learning from PISA Results 2015 to Present...................................................... 321 Esti Ismawati, Hersulastuti ., Indiyah Prana Amertawengrum, Kun Andyan Anindita Investigating EFL Instructors’ Perceptions of using Blackboard in TEFL at IAU Preparatory Year ....................... 341 Sami Mubireek, Montasser Mahmoud, Abdul Aziz Ali El-deen, Ahmed Moumene, Ahmed Younis Emerging Assessment Practices Cooperating Teachers Shared with Preservice English Teachers in the Philippines........................................................................................................................................................................... 361 Cailvin D. Reyes Relationship between Parents’ Beliefs in Early Mathematics and Learning Environment Provision at Home ..... 377 Kong Hui Ling Kong, Suziyani Mohamed Students’ Preferences Regarding the Techniques of Oral Corrective Feedback in a Tertiary Institution............... 393 Bunyarat Duklim Embedding Sustainable Development Goals to Support Curriculum Merdeka Using Projects in Biotechnology 406 Aris Rudi Purnomo, Bambang Yulianto, Muhamad Arif Mahdiannur, Hasan Subekti
  • 7. 1 ©Authors This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 1-14, January 2023 https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.22.1.1 Received Aug 17, 2022; Revised Oct 31, 2022; Accepted Jan 10, 2023 “Mending Bridges”: English Teachers Teaching for Social Cohesion Vincent Nojaja and Leila Kajee University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa Abstract. This article explores English Home and First Additional Language (English HL/FAL) teachers’ insights into social cohesion and what their understandings imply for teaching the language in diverse secondary schools in South Africa. Twenty-seven years into democracy, South African society remains beset with social challenges, such as increasing inequalities, poverty, and violence indicating intolerance and a general decline of moral fibre in society. Guided by the theory of social justice in education and supported by the notion that critical pedagogy has the potential to transform society, this qualitative case study explored English teachers’ perceptions of a cohesive society, and the way they teach for such a society. This study explored whether their theoretical understanding of the concept improves teachers’ positioning of education in diverse secondary schools, to achieve the broader objectives outlined in the national curriculum, and successfully foster social change in post- apartheid South African society. Conducted through the method a qualitative exploratory case study, data were elicited through semi- structured interviews and lesson observations of seven English HL/FAL teachers from three diverse secondary schools in Merafong City, in the Gauteng Province, in South Africa. Using content analysis to analyse data, this study found that teachers perceived a cohesive society as one of solidarity, respect, peace, humanity, and equal treatment. Interestingly, some teachers could not clearly link the concept with formal education, or in fact, English teaching, something which indicated that their pedagogic knowledge is limited, thus impeding the process of improving social cohesion in society. Keywords: English Education; Social Justice; Social Cohesion 1. Introduction Twenty-seven years into democracy, South African society remains beset with social challenges, which date back to the gross misdemeanours of the apartheid era. The country is considered one of the most unequal, intolerant, unstable and violent societies in the world (Sayed & Badroodien, 2016). Racism, increasing unemployment rates and poverty continue to divide South African society to an extent that endangers people’s lives (Cloete, 2014), as the rise of unemployment
  • 8. 2 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter and inequality perpetuate crime and riots that are always harmful to people’s lives (Meiring, Kannemeyer & Potgieter, 2018; Ratele, 2015). Impoverished people venture their social-related frustrations and anger on those vulnerable in society. Such behaviours and instances indicate that social cohesion in South Africa has not yet been achieved, and the society’s moral fibre is declining despite the strategies put in place to improve the spheres that are aimed at bringing about social transformation. Although the education sector gets the biggest amount from the government’s budget allocation in order to provide quality education that effectively address recent social issues such as inequality and fragmentation (Sayed, Badroodien, Omar, Ndabaga, Novelli, Durrani, Barrett, Balie, Salmon, Bizimana, Ntahomvukiye and Utomi, 2018), the post-apartheid South African society remains overwhelmed by the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid. The main aim of this paper is to examine teachers’ understandings of a cohesive society and how this may have empowered and enabled them to teach for the broader outcomes of the curriculum, including the improvement of social cohesion in the conflict-affected communities. Given the potential role of formal education in changing people’s lives and the structure of society at large, this paper is rooted in the tenets of social justice, which accounts for equitable provision of quality education that develops learners’ intellectual and ethical skills. The efficacy of social justice in education is also linked with teacher- competence given their role as key agents of social change. Therefore, teachers need to possess a great appreciation of socio-cultural and socio-economic differences, and of the impact this diversity may have on the success of teaching and learning practices. In short, teachers in diverse educational institutions of education need to be critical pedagogues. 2. Theoretical framework: Social justice and social cohesion Social cohesion, as an element of social justice, is a concept which fosters unity, peace and tolerance by encouraging a sense of belonging and participation in society (Fonseca, Lukosh & Brazier, 2019; De Kock, Sayed & Badroodien, 2018), while social justice is the theory through which to develop the envisaged society. In a general sense, social justice is an instrument for developing a social structure (Rawls, 1999). As a theory, it assumes that “all people, irrespective of belief or societal position, are entitled to be treated according to the values of human rights, human dignity and equality” (Van Deventer, Van der Westhuizen & Potgieter, 2015, p. 1). Social justice is a crucial impetus for promoting humanity, peace, tolerance, and unity. In other words, a conflict-affected society has the potential to improve social cohesion by enacting social justice in institutions of public importance such as schools. Adams, Bell, Goodman and Joshi (2016) add that the theory is a social-oriented tool for reshaping society. For education that is aimed at improving social cohesions and cohesion, recognition of socio-cultural and socio-economic inequalities is essential as this has the potential to remediate injustices and learning barriers in South Africa’s education. Thus, this paper argues in favour of Rawls’ (1999) postulation that social justice is the primary course towards achieving a harmonious society, as it entails the regulation of social principles and fair treatment and distribution of social resources.
  • 9. 3 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Being the fundamental principle of just social systems in society, social justice is grounded in honesty and impartiality insofar as the distribution of social resources is concerned. Rawls (1999, p. 3) highlights the principle of distributive justice as truth and fairness: “A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise, laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.” This means that the concept encourages accurate, reliable and transparent processes for fair and just social systems and practices. Fair and just practices are the most important social principles guiding the individuals’ actions and allocation of social resources (Rawls, 1999). A crucial aspect of social justice in education is enabling educational policies and practices to serve learners equally. For this reason, it is an instrument through which to examine, formulate, enact and monitor in order to ensure equitable distribution of the natural resources meant to improve society (Nieto, 2000). The theory constitutes “analyzing school policies and practices – the curriculum, textbooks and materials, instructional strategies, tracking, recruitment and hiring of staff, and parent involvement strategies – that devalue the identities of some students while valuing those of others” (Nieto, 2000, p. 183). This calls for teachers to be critical of curriculum content and pedagogies that they use to facilitate learning practices. This also entails examining the purpose of the content that is taught and the effectiveness of the pedagogies in enabling learners’ equitable access into the curriculum. Therefore, fair and equitable teaching and learning can be achieved in South Africa’s education if justice in education is effectively applied. In fact, this can possibly improve the schooling system and accelerate social cohesion, as according to Sayed and Badroodien (2016), social transformation is developed through quality and equitable education. Social justice is rooted in three fundamental social bands, namely conducive place, fair practice or action, and unbiased principles. These social bands are intertwined. As Rawls says [F]or even though justice has a certain priority, being the most important virtue of institutions, it is still true that, other things equal, one conception of justice is preferable to another when its broader consequences are more desirable.” (Rawls, 1999, p. 6). Considering social justice according to the previous bands, this paper contends that education has the potential to improve social cohesion and teachers are key agents in the process. The school environment and classroom practices help prepare young people to take up adult roles in society. Any form of inequitable treatment may hinder the process, and hence, it can exacerbate social challenges such as inequalities, poverty and divisions. When learners are given proper support and appropriate resources, they develop better critical skills, which enable them to live responsibly (Bickmore, 2006). Besides, school is the place in which social differences are contested, negotiated and addressed (De Kock et al., 2018). Therefore, social justice is imperative to the context of South African education system as it offers a scope of thoughts for effective means to improve culture of teaching and learning, so that social change and cohesion can be realised. South Africa’s education is still marked with inequalities (Badat & Sayed, 2014; Spaull, 2013), thereby impeding the potential progress in advancing social change.
  • 10. 4 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter There are many reasons affirming the importance of social justice and the principle of equal distribution of resources in post-apartheid South African education institutions. Firstly, the principle of equitable distribution of resources in education implies the distribution of more teaching and learning instruments to those with less or previously disadvantaged (Nieuwenhuis, 2010). The process ensures that the education institutions are able to provide equitable quality education to the community. The author argues that social justice in educational institutions therefore provides equitable learning opportunities, and provides each learner with opportunities to become independent citizens in a democratic society. In other words, social justice mitigates learners’ background circumstances as learning barriers. Social justice helps learners “[to] reach high levels of learning and prepare them all for active and full participation in a democracy” (Villegas, 2007, p. 372). Secondly, the concept of social justice in education corresponds with Freire’s (1970) notion of education. Paolo Freire (1970) maintains that the main objective of formal education is to liberate people and transform communities by addressing inequalities. This suggests two positions with regard to the South Africa’s cause of improving social cohesion. On the one hand, the challenge of increasing inequalities – which are by means of race (Khambule & Siswana, 2017), socioeconomic status (Segalo, 2015), geographic location (Nkambule, 2012) and gender (Bhorat & Van der Westhuizen, 2012) – in post-apartheid South Africa indicate that the country’s education system is not well positioned for effective enhancement of social cohesion. On the other hand, the county lacks full commitment and effective implementation to improve learning and teaching conditions contributing to the decline of the education system in the country. Full commitment and effective implementation mean delivering on the promise and constant monitoring circumstances. Lastly, Cappy (2016) attests that social justice (specifically, equitable distribution) in South African education is significant in her discussion of the country’s education during apartheid. The education system was structured to divide rather than to unite society. “Resources were allocated unequally, with white schools receiving the greatest resources and (B)lack schools the fewest” (Cappy, 2016, p. 124). This means that inequitable distribution of teaching and learning resources at the time was meant to perpetuate inequalities between Black and white groups (Fiske & Ladd, 2004 in Cappy, 2016). In other words, resources play an essential role in education and societal structures. Effective practice of social justice will elevate social cohesion through equal and equitable education, and address crises in education. When the education system is unequal, the idea of a cohesive society is relegated to public speeches and policies and remains unfulfilled in practice. Rather, the education system might aggravate social fragmentation, as learners in poor-resourced schools tend to perform poorly and fail to enter higher education institutions (Sayed et al., 2018; Becker et al., 2015). Thus, Novelli and Sayed (2016) conclude that one of the consequences of the situation is extreme social ills, including poverty, inequalities, and divisions.
  • 11. 5 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter 3. Research design This study follows the interpretive paradigm, a central research perspective that informs the methods of the research. The research adopts a qualitative case study as a technique to investigate English teachers’ understandings of a socially just cohesive society. Using non-probability sampling, which enables researchers to choose the participants from whom they can learn more about the situation (Kothari, 2004), 7 English HL/FAL teachers from three public secondary schools in Merafong city, in the Gauteng province, were selected to participate. While the original sample was eight teachers, one participant later recused herself from the study. Non-probability sampling was relevant to this qualitative case study as it helped to select the best group of the participants that would offer data which could provide responses to the research. Three participants were from School A, 2 from School B, and 2 from School C. All individual participants were observed twice to examine how they engage with learners in their English lessons, and a semi-structured interview with each teacher was conducted to elicit data. Observations help collect ‘live’ data, while interviews gather information based on participant’s perceptions (Ary et al., 2010). Data in this study were analysed using content analysis. Creswell’s (2014) steps proved helpful: • Organising and preparing data for analysis, the process which entails transcribing the interviews, scanning of material, and typing up field notes. • Reading through the collected data to get an overview of the information before reflecting on the overall meaning. This stage allowed for the primary researcher to write notes about their general thoughts in margins. • Analysing data using a coding process. The coding process comprises “taking text data or pictures gathered during data collection, segmenting sentences … and labelling those categories with a term, often based in the actual language of the participants (Creswell, 2014). Reliability and trustworthiness were guaranteed by means of triangulation and member checking, as well as drawing on multiple data sources. The process provided the teachers with opportunities to challenge and rectify responses that may have been misrepresented, thus ensuring validity and authenticity. To ensure that this research was ethical, permission from all the relevant stakeholders and organisations was requested and granted prior to data collection. These involved written consent granting permission to work with schools from the School Governing Body, teachers, and the principal of each site. Consent to participate in this study was also requested from the teachers. Furthermore, confidentiality was assured using pseudonyms, encouragement of voluntary participation, and inclusion of the researcher’s contact information in all the letters of consent. Finally, audio recordings and transcripts have not been publicly exposed or availed, and they will remain confidential.
  • 12. 6 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter 4. Data description and analysis To establish English teachers’ understandings of a socially just cohesive society, the primary researcher coded and categorised data from the interviews and observations into themes, focussing on the teachers’ theory and praxis. The themes reported on in this paper are: English teachers’ understandings of a socially just cohesive society; English teachers’ classroom teachings for a socially just cohesive society; and limited pedagogic knowledge. 4.1 English teachers’ understanding of a socially just cohesive society The teachers’ views of a cohesive society aligned with literature in the field of social cohesion, inter alia, individuals’ attitudes, equality, inclusion, and participation (Addeo, Diana, Bottoni & Esposito, 2017; Fenger, 2012). Most teachers related the concept to the social condition and structure, but with varying purposes. “[It is] a society that does not discriminate but rather works towards integrating everyone in society regardless of difference[s]. A society that acknowledges differences and works towards merging society.” (Interview with Mrs Thabethe). “A socially just cohesive society is where there is equality, a society where people are free to express themselves as they see fit… exclusion and marginalisation, creates a sense of inequality, and promotes lack of trust and unity among all the members of society.” (Interview with Ms Makhosi). “A socially just cohesive society is a society that allows and respects different views and, more importantly, free discourse whereby people listen to each other even when at odds with one another. This importance is amplified when it comes to marginalized group who have to be given a platform to voice out their grievances so previous injustices can be rectified.” (Interview with Mr Daniels). According to these three respondents, some of the features that determine a cohesive society are equity and freedom of expression. For Mrs Thabethe and Mr Daniels that includes acknowledging the fact that society is made up of diverse individuals whose views and abilities should be respected. Mrs Thabethe and Mr Daniels seem to associate a cohesive society with how individuals are treated in the community, given their views that a cohesive society is “a society that does not discriminate” but which “allows and respects” individual differences. This means that they equate a cohesive society to a social structure that is devoid of inequalities and discrimination, and where individuals are treated fairly. Ms Makhosi concurs with Mrs Thabethe’s and Mr Daniels’ sentiments pertaining to a cohesive society. She highlights the importance of equality and freedom of expression in society. She feels that “exclusion and marginalisation” of other people result in negative social dimensions such as “inequality” which she believes “promotes lack of trust and unity” in society. Like other teachers (such as Mr Daniels), who highlighted the purpose of fair treatment as a possible means
  • 13. 7 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter to redress social injustices without providing clarity, Ms Makhosi could not expound on the idea of enacting equitable treatment in society. Yet, she mentions the consequences of unfair treatment. This implies two positions relating to teachers’ notions of equal treatment, given the small sample whose views are not generalisable. On the one hand, it could be indicative of English teachers’ lack of knowledge insofar as the lack of impartial treatment in society is concerned. On the other hand, it could mean that teachers do not take the idea of treating learners equally in the classroom seriously. In essence, these teachers appear preoccupied with the outcomes rather than the processes of equal treatment in the South African education system. Despite the teachers’ superficial understanding of enacting equal treatment in society, their perceptions of a socially just cohesive society indicate that they understand the outcomes of inequitable treatment and/or inequalities in society. In general, the teachers understand that unfair treatment and inequalities in society jeopardise social cohesion by triggering social instabilities that lead to social fragmentations rather than social solidarity and harmony. This is consistent with Berger-Schmitt’s (2002) views about social cohesion in Addeo and colleagues’ (2017) study that identifies inequalities as one of the broad social elements that need to be addressed if society wants to improve the status quo of social cohesion. According to Addeo et al. (2017), social cohesion improves when the levels of inequality in society diminish. 4.2 English teachers’ classroom teachings for a socially just cohesive society Below is an interview extract with Mrs Dibe demonstrating what it means to English teachers to teach for a cohesive society. Researcher: What does teaching for a socially just cohesive society mean to you? Mrs Dibe: I think it is teaching in such a manner that a teacher instils values, which are going to make learners uplift unity in the societies where they come from … it is a teaching through instilling values of unity to the learners, and also teaching them skills of surviving in their societies... Researcher: Can you just give me one or two examples of those values, just to be specific? Thank you. Mrs Dibe: Learners should be taught that it is very-very important to respect other human beings … if you are a respectful person you are not self-centred, you also think of other people. If we see the rape cases, the murders of women in nowadays, it simply shows us that there is lack of that… (Interview with Mrs Dibe). This excerpt highlights that Mrs Dibe believes that teaching for a cohesive society underpins two ideas, namely, equipping learners with values that encourage unity, and equipping learners with skills that will help them survive in society. She strongly believes that providing learners with these values is essential because it encourages them to appreciate the significance of unity in society. Mrs Dibe believes that building a cohesive society begins with providing young people with social principles and other necessary skills that will help them live a successful life. This can possibly nurture a harmonious society, given her confidence that such teaching “will actually reduce” crime in South Africa.
  • 14. 8 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Her colleague, Mrs Thabethe, acknowledges the importance of teaching for a cohesive society. She recognises that such teaching can improve inequalities which have been in existence for decades in South Africa. She also emphasises that more knowledge is crucial in addressing social challenges, something she feels is missing in the country’s education system. She articulated: “Teaching for social cohesion can help mend the bridges that equality throughout the years has burnt. The inequality in society still exists because education teaches specific individuals for specific roles without affording them all the tools and allowing them to make their own decisions regarding where they would like to fall on the economic ladder.” (Interview with Mrs Thabethe). Mrs Thabethe sees the significance of teaching for a cohesive society but believes that the education system fails to achieve this purpose. However, the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in which the general aims of the country’s curriculum are based, provides for the provision of a wide range of knowledge. For instance, learners should be provided “with the knowledge, skills and values necessary for self-fulfilment, and meaningful participation in society as citizens of a free country” (Department of Basic Education (DoBE), 2011, p. 4). Mrs Thabethe considers the current education system narrow to promote social cohesion. This could possibly be because her knowledge of the CAPS provisions is limited, or that she is unable to position education to provide learners with broad and necessary skills. This is a challenge in need of urgent attention for teachers and the curriculum to realise the objectives of education in South Africa. Education should be well balanced to prepare society for the labour market; to effectively develop people to think and apply their knowledge critically; to help young people become active citizens in modern and democratic society, and to realise individuals’ personal growth (Council of Europe, 2015). When asked about how they teach for a cohesive society, participants differed in ideas and strategies. One of them explained: “My favourite topic when teaching English is poetry, and poetry helps me to say things like apartheid was wrong, and as a white teacher the children are often surprised that I would say something like this … So, I very often use things like that, a little bit of humour to try and include my kids in my social sphere of my life… and I think that helps them to see that we can all be part of one-big society…” (Interview with Mrs Morntana). This extract depicts Mrs Morntana’s teaching techniques aimed to promote a cohesive society. She enjoys teaching poetry since it relates to authentic social issues, such as apartheid, which is a still responsible for social ills perpetuated in post-apartheid South African society (Davis & Steyn, 2012). As a white woman, she believes that poetry presents her with opportunities to condemn apartheid. Mrs Morntana applies her theoretical knowledge of a socially cohesive society in the classroom. Her teaching-learning approach draws on Boler’s (1999) pedagogy of discomfort, aligning her lessons as she does with authentic and sensitive social issues which provoke a sense of discomfort. Through this pedagogy, Boler (1999) recognises how what we know, and feel are intertwined beyond our classrooms, shaping who we are. By delivering the lesson along the lines of a pedagogy of
  • 15. 9 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter discomfort, Mrs Morntana enables her teaching strategy to “bring students and learners to develop a value of system that takes justice, democratic values, freedom, and the suffering of others seriously” (Davis & Steyn, 2012, p. 30). For her, she teaches in this way to help learners understand the inaccuracies of political propaganda. It makes other young people recognise that life is about being able to strive for justice, freedom, and unity. Indeed, “one gains a new sense of interconnection with others” (Boler, 1999, p. 199). Mr Daniels believes: “Teaching for a socially just cohesive society means moulding learners to be future leaders who see the importance of coming back to the community and do something that will change their lives and the lives of other people in a positive way; something that will leave a legacy in the community. Most importantly, it also means to instil a hard-working mentality and a drive for success in my learner’s spirits and if I have failed on the latter then I have failed as an educator.” (Interview with Mr Daniels). A different notion of teaching for a cohesive society is expressed by Mrs Dibe who claims to treat learners fairly by ensuring that in her class they receive equal treatment. “I teach by treating learners fairly, and I do not teach them like they are unequal beings in the class. They should be treated in an equal manner, and the teacher should be fair at all times … So, teachers mustn’t practice favouritism, all the learners should be treated as equal beings in the class...” (Interview with Mrs Dibe). Mrs Dibe describes how she teaches to promote a cohesive society. Her choice of praxis, of “treating learners fairly” and not seeing them as “unequal beings in the class”, resonates with Philip, Tsedu and Zwane’s (2014) ideas of both fairness and social cohesion in society, as well as the notions of social justice in the terrain of education. “A sense of unfairness can give rise to social conflict and a lack of social cohesion … Lack of social cohesion as a result of inequality also lowers social trust, which makes it difficult for different interest groups to work together for a common social goal” (Philip et al., 2014, p. 17). Practising fairness and equity in the classroom serves the purpose of addressing issues of deteriorating social trust and unity, and therefore encourages social cohesion. Non-discriminatory teaching supports broad endeavours meant to transform broader society (Cochran-Smith, Shakman, Jong, Terrell, Barnatt & McQuillan, 2009). This is indicative of Mrs Dibe’s awareness that teaching and learning play a key role in influencing learners’ social conscience, and the impact it has in society at large. In this instance, her pedagogy is likely to ignite learners’ sense of harmony. Although most teachers in this study possessed knowledge of a cohesive society, and what it means to teach for such a society, they seemed to lack clarity on how to teach in this paradigm. None of the teachers could expand on their pedagogy sufficiently. For example, Mrs Mortana’s pedagogy denounces the apartheid regime, and Mrs Thabethe seeks to address inequalities. A pedagogy aimed to promote a cohesive society requires a broader sense of teaching, which entails various learning objectives, “including thinking critically, connecting knowledge
  • 16. 10 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter to real-world problems and situations, challenging received knowledge, understanding multiple perspectives, debating diverse viewpoints, unpacking underlying assumptions, and engaging productively in cross-cultural discussion” (Cochran-Smith, Gleeson & Mitchell, 2010, p. 37). For teaching-learning instruction to realise these goals, teachers need to use a pedagogy that exposes learners to a wide range of knowledge opportunities, such as the development of essential basic skills, expansion of deep insight, attitudes and values crucial for participation in a democratic society. 4.3 Limited pedagogic knowledge: some observations Teachers’ knowledge of pedagogic application is sometimes limited, thereby depriving learners of critical thinking and robust discussions around social issues. For example, in one of the English lessons that was observed, Mrs Thabethe was teaching Grade 10s John Donne’s “Death be not proud”. Her pedagogic style emulated banking education (Freire, 1970). At the beginning of the lesson learners were required to recollect what was discussed in the classroom in a previous lesson. Learners in this instance repeated what they were taught, with Mrs Thabethe prohibiting them from providing their own views by saying, “No… Don’t guess”. This could have a negative impact on the learners’ education, by discouraging them. It can discourage learners from engaging in dialogue that requires their views. What is noticeable in Mrs Thabethe’s lesson is that, in the analysis of the poem, when learners could have critically engaged with the poem, they were deprived of the opportunity to actively participate. [1] Mrs Thabethe: Alright. I have done line number one, akere [right]? I have said to you in line number one we have got a figure of speech which we say is an apostrophe. (Explains what and why it is an apostrophe in line one). [2] Class: Ooh! [3] Mrs Thabethe: (Reads line 2 and explains) So, here. The speaker is saying that ‘Death’ you must not be proud, meaning that he is saying ‘Death’ must get rid of his pride, the pride that he carries. Then, he explains to us why he says ‘Death’ is proud. He says ‘Death’ you are proud because a lot of people have called you ‘Mighty’, a lot of people have said that you are ‘dreadful’, but you are not. Are we together? [4] Few learners: Yes! [5] Mrs Thabethe: (Reads line 3 and explains) So, here, he continues again to say there are people that think that you can overthrow them. Remember, when we speak of death, we say your life has ended. So, we assume that it stops when death comes in, meaning that you don’t have life anymore. Are we together? [6] Learners: Yes! [7] Mrs Thabethe: But, here, he says you are not what those people make you to think that you are. And, then, you are incapable of overthrowing. Are we together? [8] Class: (Softly) Yes.
  • 17. 11 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter [9] Mrs Thabethe: (Reads line 4 and explains) So, now, he is telling ‘Death’ that you cannot kill me, meaning that my life cannot end when you get to it. Are we together? [10] Class: (Softly) Yes. [11] Mrs Thabethe: Hale thotse lea ntshabisa [You are scaring me when you are quiet]. [12] Class: (Laughs)… (Lesson observation extract 2, 08 October 2020). In this extract, the poem is being analysed by Mrs Thabethe. The teacher is reading, evaluating and explaining the meaning of the poem to learners. Her role and that of the learners in this lesson clearly shows that the lesson lacks any form of critical engagement. She reads and explains the poem without discussing it with the class, or without giving learners the opportunity to express their thoughts or contribute to the deconstruction of the poem. This can be seen in turns 3, 5, 7 and 9, which point to the fact that learners receive content in the method relative to a rote learning. This is once again reminiscent of Freire’s banking education, as referred to earlier. This means that the teacher deposits content into the children’s minds, and they receive it without being critically engaged. The only time Mrs Thabethe engages learners in the lesson is when she wants to know whether or not they understand, as she repeatedly asks “Are we together” to which they chorus “Yes” or “no”. As a result, learners are disengaged. They do not really understand anything, the question is rhetorical. This is evident in turns 8 and 10 when they expressed their response with a soft “Yes”, an emergence that bothered Mrs Thabethe to the extent that she told them their silence was scaring her. This contradicts what Mrs Thabethe claims to do when teaching for a cohesive society in her interview: “I allow for learners to investigate and see life through the eyes of others, through giving open ended questions, speech and transactional writing topics. This helps learners realise that the world as they know it is not all there is to know.” (Interview with Mrs Thabethe). Her assertion presupposes a vibrant lesson characterised by active participation of the learners in which the teacher seeks to promote critical thinking by asking unrestricted questions to give learners opportunity to explore the content. It is also evident in her articulation that she understands the importance of allowing learners to examine the content on their own to understand “through the eyes of others”. In this instance, Mrs Thabethe seems to value learners’ thinking capabilities, and their critical engagement. Perhaps, this equates to a dialogue- based teaching-learning pedagogy, which correlates with critical pedagogy in which “the thoughts, language use, and everyday lives of the illiterates” are appreciated, and “[the] students are cognitively animated to reflect instead of waiting for the educator to explain for them and to them what things mean and what to believe” (Shor, Marjanovic-Shane, Matusov & Cresswell, 2017, p. 9). Although Mrs Thabethe understands the significance of learners’ critical engagement in the lesson, she does not put this into practice. Rather, her lesson seems to undermine the value of empowering learners to be critical thinkers. Her
  • 18. 12 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter lesson appears to promote rote learning through the following aspects of banking education, which, according to Freire (1970, p. 73), do not liberate society, namely: • the teacher teaches and the students are taught; • the teacher knows everything, and the students know nothing; • the teacher thinks and students are thought about; and • the teacher talks and the students listen–meekly. For the development of critical thinking among learners, the teacher must provide learners with moments to actively participate in discussions and to engage dialogically rather than encouraging passivity (Murawski, 2014). 5. Conclusion This paper has engaged in discussion around English teachers’ understandings of a cohesive society. Essentially, the study found that teachers have knowledge of a cohesive society. However, despite their theoretical understanding of a cohesive society, their practice suggests inconsistency between their understandings and their praxis. The teachers’ praxis did not always align with effective actions towards social transformation. The English lessons that were observed, presented failed opportunities for critical learner engagement. The teachers also appear to lack vital pedagogic knowledge. Learners were often left listening or responding chorally, rather than engaging with the teacher. This suggests, although not generalisable, that teaching and learning practices in this study sorely lack development towards social justice and cohesion, as is presented in curriculum policy documents. A limitation of the research was the limited number of participants, an occurrence as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which the research was conducted. These observations bear major implications for further research. Such research could involve revisiting and critically analysing policy documents such as the curriculum policies to establish what is prescribed for teachers to implement in the classroom. If teachers are not abiding by curriculum policies, it is important to recognise reasons for this occurrence. This could be because of time constraints in classrooms, or that curriculum documents are presenting already overburdened teachers with more than which they can cope. It could also be that teachers, although they say they understand concepts such as social justice and cohesion, are unable to implement such in their lessons. Another major setback could be the lack of teacher pedagogic knowledge which might require regular upgrading. Together with pedagogic content knowledge lies the teacher’s ideological stance. If the curriculum stipulates core overarching issues such as social justice, transformation and social cohesion, these will not be taken to the classroom if they lie in opposition to teacher beliefs. 7. References Adams, M., Bell, L.A., Goodman, D.J., & Josh, K.Y. (Eds.). (2016). Teaching for diversity and social justice. (3rd edn.). London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003005759 Addeo, F., Diana, P., Bottoni, G., & Espasito, M. (2017). Social cohesion in the time of crisis: An empirical research on EU member states. Athens Journal of Social Sciences, 4(3), 229-248. https://doi.org/10.30958/ajss.4-3-2
  • 19. 13 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Ary, D., Jacobs, C. L., & Sorensen, C. (2010). Introduction to research in education. (8th edn.). USA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Badat, S., & Sayed, Y. (2014). Post-1994 South African education: The challenge of social justice. The Annals of the American Academy 652, 127-148. http://doi.org/10.1177/0002716213511188 Becker, A., De Wet, A., & Van Vollenhoven, W. (2015). Human rights literacy: Moving towards rights-based education and transformative action through understandings of dignity, equality and freedom. South African Journal of Education, 35(2), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v35n2a1044 Bhorat, H., & Van der Westhuizen, C. (2012). Poverty, inequality and the nature of economic growth in South Africa. Cape Town: University of Cape Town. (Development Policy Research Unit Working Paper 12/151). Bickmore, K. (2006). Democratic social cohesion (Assimilation)? Representations of social conflict in Canadian public-school curriculum. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(2), 359-386. https://doi.org/10.2307/20054168 Boler, M. (1999). Feeling power: Emotions and education. Florence: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.2979/hyp.2002.17.1.205 Cappy, L.C. (2016). Shifting the future? Teachers as agents of social change in South African Secondary schools. Education as Change, 20(3),119- 140. https://doi.org/10.17159/1947-9417/2016/1314 Cochran-Smith, M., Gleeson, A.M., & Mitchell, K. (2010). Teacher education for social justice: What’s pupil learning got to do with it? Berkley Review of Education, 1(1), 35-61. http://doi.org/10.5070/b81110022 Cochran-Smith, M., Shakman, K., Jong, C., Terrell, G.D., Barnatt, J., & McQuillan, P. (2009). Good and just teaching: The case for social justice in teacher education. American Journal of Education, 115(3), 347-377. https://doi.org/10.1086/597493 Council of Europe. (2015). Education for change: Change for education. London: Strasbourg. Creswell, J.W. (2014). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. (4th edn.) London: SAGE. De Kock, T., Sayed, Y., & Badroodien, A. (2018). Narratives of social cohesion: Bridging the link between school culture, linguistic identity and the English language. Education as Change, 22(1), 1-29. https://doi.org/10.25159/1947-9417/2117 Department of Basic Education. (2011). Curriculum and assessment policy statement grades 10-12: English first additional language. South Africa: Government Printing Works. Department of Basic Education. (2019). A 25-year review of progress in the basic education sector. Pretoria: Department of Basic Education. Fenger, M. (2012). Deconstructing social cohesion: Towards an analytical framework for assessing social cohesion policies. Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social policy, 2(3), 39-54. https://doi.org/10.14267/cjssp.2012.02.02 Fonseca, X., Lukosch, S., & Brazier, F. (2019). Social cohesion revisited: A new definition of how to characterize it. Innovation: European Journal of social Science Research, 32(2), pp. 231-253. https://doi.org/10.1080/13511610.2018.1497480 Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. (30th ed.). New York: Continuum. Hackman, W.H. (2005). Five essential components for social justice education. Equity & Excellence in Education 38, 103-109. http://doi.org/10.1080/106656805900935034. Khambule, I., & Siswana, B. (2017). How inequalities undermine social cohesion: A case study of South Africa. Retrieved February 15, 2020, from https://www.G20-insights.org. Kothari, C.R. (2004). Research methodology: Methods and techniques. (2nd rev. edn.). New Dehli: New Age. Marais, P. (2016). We can’t [cannot] believe what we see: Overcrowded classrooms through the eyes of student teachers. South African Journal of Education, 36(2), 1-10. http://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v36n2a1201
  • 20. 14 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Meiring, T., Kannemeyer, C., & Potgieter, E. (2018). The gap between rich and poor: South African society’s biggest divide depends on where you think you fit in. Cape Town: SALDRU, UCT. (SALDRU Working Paper Number 220). Merriam, B.S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. (2nd edn.). New York: Jossey-Bass. Murawski, L.M. (2014). Critical thinking in the classroom… and beyond. Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 10(1), 25-30. Nieto, S. (2000). Placing equity front and center: Some thoughts on transforming teacher education for a new century. Journal of Teacher Education, 51(3), pp. 180-187. http://doi.org/10.1177/002248710030 04 Nieuwenhuis, J. (2010). Social justice in education revisited. Education Inquiry, 1(4), 269- 287. https://doi.org/10.3402/edui.v1i4.21946 Nkambule, J.S. (2012). Citizenship a tool of social inclusion and exclusion in post- apartheid South Africa. Journal of Community Positive Practice, 170-185. Novelli, M., & Sayed, Y. (2016). Teachers as agents of sustainable peace, social cohesion and development: Theory, practice & evidence. Education as Change. 20(3), 15- 37. https://doi.org/10.17159/1947-9417/2016/1486 Philip, K., Tsedu, M., & Zwane, M. (2014). The impacts of social and economic inequality on economic development in South Africa. New York: United National Development Programme (UNDP). Pillay, A. (2017). How teachers of English in South African schools recognise their change agency. South African Journal of Education, 37(3), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v37n3a1296 Ratele, K. (2015). The singularity of the post-apartheid black condition. Psychology in Society, 49, pp. 46-61. https://doi.org/10.17159/2309-8708/2015/n49a4 Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice. (Rev. edn.). USA: Harvard University Press. Rubagiza, J., Umutoni, J., & Kaleeba, A. (2016). Teachers as agents of change: Promoting peacebuilding in schools in Rwanda. Education as Change, 20(3), 202-224. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/1947-9417/2016/1533 Sayed, Y., & Badroodien, A. (2016). Teachers and social cohesion in global South: Expanding the notion of education quality. Education as Change, 20(3), 1- 14. https://doi.org/10.17159/1947-9417/2016/1975 Sayed, Y., Badroodien, A., Omar, Y., Ndabaga, E., Novelli, M., Durrani, N., Barrett, A., Balie, Salmon, T., Bizimana, B., Ntahomvukiye, C., & Utomi, J. (2018). The Role of Teachers in Peacebuilding and Social Cohesion in Rwanda and South Africa. Research Report. University of Sussex, UK. Segalo, P. (2015). Gender, social cohesion and everyday struggles in South Africa. Psychology in Society (PINS), 49, 70-82. https://doi.org/10.17159/2309- 8708/2015/n49a6 Shor, I., Marjanovic-Shane, A., Matusov, E., & Cresswell, J. (2017). Dialogic & critical pedagogies: An interview with Ira Shor. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 5, 1-21. https://doi.org/10.5195/dpj.2017.208 Spaull, N. (2013). South Africa’s education crisis: The quality of education in South Africa 1994- 2011. SA: CDE (Centre for Development & Enterprise). Van Deventer, I., Van der Westhuizen, C.P., & Potgieter, J.F. (2015). Social justice praxis in education: Towards sustainable management strategies. South African Journal of Education, 35(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v35n2a956 Villegas, M.A. (2007). Dispositions in teacher education: A look at social justice. Journal of Teacher Education, 58(5), 370-380. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487107308419
  • 21. 15 ©Authors This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 15-34, January 2023 https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.22.1.2 Received Sep 9, 2022; Revised Nov 19, 2022; Accepted Dec 15, 2023 Challenges of Implementing the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Special Needs Children with Learning Disabilities: Systematic Literature Review (SLR) Syar Meeze Mohd Rashid and Mei Ti Wong University Kebangsaan Malaysia Selangor, Malaysia Abstract. This study identified teacher challenges in the implementation of the individualized education plan (IEP) for special educational needs (SEN) children with learning disabilities (LD). A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted to identify and synthesize the literature on this topic. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Most of the findings indicated that teachers face challenges in all three aspects of competency challenges, that is knowledge, skill, and attitude challenges. Lack of knowledge on criterion- referenced tests (f = 3; 42%) can be considered as the biggest knowledge challenge faced by teachers. The biggest skill challenge was also found in the evaluation process, with teachers being less efficient in carrying out the evaluation process (f = 4; 57%). In terms of attitude challenges, the lack of motivation (f = 4; 66%) in implementing the IEP for LD children is the most common challenge encountered by teachers. Therefore, the results of the analysis and research carried out can serve as a guide and reference for educators, the Ministry of Education (MOE), and future researchers in an effort to solve teachers’ competency challenges in the IEP implementation process. However, additional high-quality research or an empirical study should be conducted to verify the validity of the conceptual framework formed by conducting a survey study in Malaysia. Keywords: challenges; IEP implementation; learning disabilities; systematic literature review (SLR); teachers 1. Introduction The field of special education is one of the important branches of education (Lindqvist et al., 2020). Special education in Malaysia has grown rapidly since the 1920s, when the need for education for students with special educational needs (SEN) was recognized among Malaysians (Ghani & Ahmad, 2011). According to the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025 (Malaysia. Ministry of Education [MOE], 2012), the development of special education is aligned with the motto
  • 22. 16 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter “Education for All (EFA)”. Therefore, the MOE provides opportunities and rights for all children to receive a quality education regardless of their intelligence level or social background (Hana et al., 2022). In Malaysia, special education is divided into three categories: learning disability (LD), hearing impaired, and visually impaired. Based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025, there are three school systems that can be accessed by children with SEN: special education schools, the Special Education Integration Program (SEIP), and an inclusive education program that is provided at various stages, such as preschool, primary school, and secondary school. According to the MOE (Malaysia, 2021), as many as 2586 schools implement the SEIP for the welfare of SEN children with LD. Therefore, LD students can be considered as the majority group in the special education system in Malaysia. Burr et al. (2015) specifically defined LD as “a neurological condition that interferes with an individual’s ability to store, process, or produce information” (p. 3). Therefore, LD can affect a student’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, do math computation, or reason and cause them to underperform in one or more of these skills. In addition, it can affect their attention, memory, coordination, social skills, and emotional maturity. Most schools around the world have used the individualized education plan (IEP) as one of the most significant and main educational strategies in education that includes children with SEN (Elder et al., 2018; Timothy & Agbenyega, 2018). At the same time, Akcin (2022) also reported that a minority of teachers in their study, that is only 133 (13.3%) out of 1409, thought that the IEP was unnecessary. As such, this study can prove that the majority of teachers are aware of the importance and needs of the IEP for LD children. The IEP is a type of written document specifically designed to validate the results of decisions about educational needs and service programs that are required by children with SEN through the discussion among members of a multidisciplinary group (Tran et al., 2018; Walther-Thomas et al., 2000). Through the implementation of an IEP, children with SEN can benefit from the special education system and planned interventions or support (Kauffman et al., 2018). Groh (2021) also stated that the IEP can serve as a nucleus in providing free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This is because there is no other document that can function more comprehensively in ensuring the effectiveness of an educational program in terms of design, implementation, monitoring, and compliance with the established legislation when compared to the IEP (Rotter, 2014). The importance of the IEP in the special education system is also evidenced by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, programs and services required by children with SEN will be determined through the IEP (Siegel, 2020). All IEP implementation processes are protected by the existence of this IDEA legislation. This means that the act can dictate the path or procedure for implementing this IEP service for children with disabilities from birth through 21 years of age. Moreover, IDEA can also ensure the right of SEN children to receive FAPE in the most “least restrictive” environment.
  • 23. 17 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter In addition, teachers and parents play an important role in influencing the development of children with SEN (Matheis et al., 2017; Subotnik et al., 2011). According to Fu et al. (2018), teachers can be considered as the key to success in IEP implementation. This is because as an educator, special education teachers should plan an IEP based on needs as well as implement the IEP in the daily life of children with SEN, especially during school hours. Fu et al. (2018) also stated that the teacher’s perspective on the IEP implementation process greatly affects the quality of the constructed IEP. This statement is in line with Bae’s study (2018), which proved that the quality of teachers at the school level can have a major impact on student performance. This is because, as educators, teachers have placed high hopes on developing an IEP based on the needs of children with SEN by implementing routinely planned interventions in the classroom. Through a review of research on the effectiveness of IEP implementation for LD children, we found that several studies conducted during the first decade of the 21st century reported difficulties in using IEPs in schools. For example, studies conducted by Andreasson et al. (2013) and Giota and Emanuelsson (2011) have shown that the IEP has become a fairly common practice in schools. However, both studies found that the IEP is not implemented on a quarter of SEN children in the schools. Meanwhile, Kritzer (2011) also reported that the difficulty of implementing the IEP in China is due to a special education system that is not consistent between schools, cities, and states, respectively. Since the IEP is very important to every LD child, the challenges in the IEP implementation process should be identified early so that various efforts can be made in overcoming the challenges encountered. Teachers face various IEP implementation challenges in practicing the IEP for all children with SEN in the school. These challenges include lack of separate and adequate time for preparation of an IEP, not knowing how to prepare an IEP, and lack of a variety of materials in IEP implementation (Akcin, 2022). With this background, this systematic literature review (SLR) is conducted with the aim of analyzing articles related to the challenges of IEP implementation for SEN children with LD. The analysis was carried out to identify the most common competency challenges that educators face in the IEP implementation process. Through the main results established, a conceptual framework can be developed based on the conducted analysis. At the same time, the results of the analysis and research carried out can be used as a guide and reference for educators, the MOE, and future researchers in an effort to solve problems or challenges in IEP implementation faced by teachers, whether special education or mainstream teachers, so that LD children can truly benefit from the IEP implementation process. 2. Methodology This study was conducted using the SLR method. The goal with conducting an SLR is to identify all empirical evidence that meets established article selection criteria in answering a particular research question or hypothesis (Moher et al., 2009). This is because the SLR requires use of explicit and systematic methods when searching and reviewing evidence and thus allows analysis of information. In this study, the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-
  • 24. 18 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter analyses (PRISMA) flowchart was also used in the process of selecting articles that are relevant to the research question presented (Moher et al., 2010, 2015; Page et al., 2021). The four stages of article selection based on the PRISMA flowchart include identification, screening, eligibility, and inclusion of articles in the conducted SLR study (Page et al., 2021). Therefore, this SLR study included five key aspects for the articles obtained: search strategy, selection criteria, selection process, data collection, and data analysis. 2.1 Article Search Strategy Two leading databases, namely Google Scholar and Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), were consulted and used in the article search process for the SLR conducted. According to Joklitschke et al. (2018), the most important aspect in the article search process is the search term or keyword used. Two sets of keywords were used in this study. The first set consisted of keywords related to IEP, such as “Individualized Education Plan (IEP)”, “IEP process”, and “IEP implementation”. The second set was themed around educators’ challenges using the keywords “teachers’ challenges” and “teachers’ barriers”. Both sets of keywords were combined with a Boolean search (AND, OR) in the article search process. Using the keywords, the articles displayed on the database were related to the challenges faced by teachers in the IEP implementation process for LD children. 2.2 Article Selection Criteria According to Xiao and Watson (2019), survey research which involves the comparison of a group of literature sources needs a clear and robust process for establishing criteria in article selection. Therefore, this study set certain criteria to facilitate the literature search process. The four specified selection criteria for accepting or rejecting articles included year of publication, language, type of reference material, and study field of journal articles, as shown in Table 1. Table 1: Article acceptance and rejection criteria Criterion Acceptance Rejection Year of publication Publication of journal articles within the last five years (2018 to 2022). Publication before 2018. Language English. Malay, Indonesian, Chinese, and other languages. Type of reference material Journal articles. Theses, proceedings, conference papers, and books. Field of journal article study The field of special education services for SEN students with LD in the school context. Any fields apart from the field of special education or the field of special education services for SEN students with LD in the school context. In terms of the criteria for the year of publication, only articles published within the last five years were accepted, that is from 2018 to 2022. Selection of articles limited to the last five years can be considered as a period of search topics that are still hotly discussed and include current affairs or issues. Second, regarding the
  • 25. 19 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter language of the articles, only articles in English were selected from the two popular databases and included in this study. Third, in terms of the criterion for selecting the type of reference material, only journal articles were used in this study. Theses, proceedings, conference papers, and books were excluded as sources in this study. This is because journal articles can be considered as reference materials that have complete and detailed reporting. Since LD students are the majority group in the special education system, this study only accepted articles in the field of special education services for SEN students with LD in the school context only. 2.3 Article Selection Process The article selection process for the SLR was conducted in July 2022. Figure 1 shows the flowchart of the article selection process adapted from the PRISMA flowchart (Tawfik et al., 2019). Figure 1: Flowchart of article selection process As seen in Figure 1, this study included four main stages in the article selection process. At the identification stage, 15,597 articles were identified using the two databases. The next step involved screening the articles using the acceptance criteria listed in Table 1 before the articles were included in the eligibility stage for a more thorough and detailed screening.
  • 26. 20 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter At the eligibility stage, there were four additional criteria for article exclusion before the article was included in the SLR study. These were: articles without full text (n = 30), study titles that did not fit the context of the study (n = 20), identical articles from the two databases (n = 9), and articles that did not meet the criteria for acceptance of the study and that were in the form of a review (n = 19). On the other hand, four additional acceptance criteria included: articles that have full text; articles with titles that fit the context of the study; articles that are not duplicated; and articles that meet the acceptance criteria of the study, such as articles that have empirical data and are not in the form of reviews. After reviewing and examining the 90 journal articles that we downloaded, only 12 were identified for use. This means that all 12 articles successfully met all the selection criteria and were included in the SLR. 2.4 Data Collection and Data Analysis The data collection process was carried out using the 12 journal articles obtained from the two databases, namely Google Scholar and ERIC. Table 2 shows the 12 articles, along with the publication year, country, and purpose of the study. All the selected articles met the acceptance and rejection criteria that were set. Data were collected for each article by abstracting the title, name of author(s), year, study purpose, and teacher challenges in implementing the IEP into a table built using Microsoft Excel 2019 software. Meanwhile, data analysis was carried out by using a table and by categorizing the teacher challenges found in each article. The results of the data analysis are also presented in the form of tables. According to Kumar (2011), an SLR study also aims to develop a conceptual framework based on the findings of previous studies. This is because the conceptual framework that was built can be used as a reference that can contribute to the literature section of the study in the future. Therefore, the results of the data analysis of this SLR study concerning the challenges of teachers in implementing the IEP for LD children that were most often found in literature were used in developing a conceptual framework.
  • 27. 21 ©Authors This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Table 2: List of reviewed research articles No. Author and year of publication Country Study title Journal name Study purpose 1 Fu et al. (2018) China A social–cultural analysis of the IEP practice in special education schools in China International Journal of Developmenta l Disabilities To identify the perspective of special education teachers about the use of the IEP and how they implement the IEP. 2 Ruble et al. (2018) United States Special education teachers’ perceptions and intentions toward data collection Journal of Early Intervention To identify internal and external factors related to special education teachers’ views on the data collection process in the IEP implementation process by using the theory of planned behavior (TPB). 3 Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) Kuwait Special education teachers’ knowledge and experience of IEPs in the education of students with special educational needs International Journal of Disability, Development and Education To identify the level of knowledge and experience of special education teachers in Kuwaiti primary schools who implement inclusive education in the process of preparing IEP reports and implementing and evaluating the IEP. 4 Baglama et al. (2019) Turkey Special education teachers’ attitudes towards developing individualized education programs and challenges in this process Near East University Online Journal of Education (NEUJE) To identify the attitudes of special education teachers working in special education centers in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as well as the challenges faced in the IEP implementation process. 5 Senay and Konuk (2019) Turkey Evaluating parent participation in individualized education programs by opinions of parents and teachers Journal of Education and Training Studies To identify the opinions of parents and special education teachers in the involvement of parents in the IEP implementation process.
  • 28. 22 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter 6 Karaca et al. (2020) Turkey An investigation of the Turkish preservice teachers’ attitudes towards individualized education program development process Journal of Education and Practice To identify the attitudes of trainee teachers in Turkish universities about the IEP implementation process. 7 Almoghyrah (2021) Saudi Arabia The challenges of implementing individualised education plans with children with Down syndrome at mainstream schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Teachers’ perspectives International Journal of Disability, Development and Education To identify the challenges of teachers in implementing the IEP for Down syndrome children who study in mainstream classes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 8 Hott et al. (2021) North America Lessons learned from a descriptive review of rural individualized education programs The Journal of Special Education To evaluate the level of academic performance and functionality during the IEP report, IEP goals as well as the IEP implementation monitoring process through examining 133 sets of IEP reports from seven schools in the rural areas of eastern North America. 9 Akcin (2022) Turkey Identification of the processes of preparing individualized education programs (IEP) by special education teachers, and of problems encountered therein Educational Research and Reviews To identify the problems or challenges faced by special education teachers in the process of preparing IEPs. 10 Goodwin et al. (2022) United States Examining the quality of individualized education plan (IEP) goals for children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) Communicatio n Disorders Quarterly To identify the quality of IEP goals set for children with traumatic brain injury (TBI). 11 Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) Turkey Teachers’ attitudes and the challenges they experience concerning individualized education program (IEP): A mixed method study Participatory Educational Research (PER) To identify the attitudes and challenges of teachers in the IEP implementation process. 12 Shao et al. (2022) China Investigation and research on the current situation of IEP formulation and implementation in Guangxi special education schools Adult and Higher Education To identify the phenomenon of IEP implementation in schools.
  • 29. 23 ©Authors This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). 3. Findings The SLR revealed that the challenges identified in all reviewed research articles can be divided into three groups of teacher competency challenges in the IEP implementation process, namely the challenges of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. 3.1 Teacher Knowledge Challenges Three aspects of teachers’ challenges with knowledge were identified in the reviewed studies (Table 3). These are criterion-referenced tests, IEP concept, and ability level of LD children. Table 3 : List of reviewed articles according to aspects of teacher knowledge challenges Four of the reviewed studies reported that teachers, especially special education teachers, lacked knowledge on how to collect data towards LD children’s development process. These teachers also lacked awareness about the importance of using criterion-referenced tests in collecting information (Akcin, 2022; Al-Shammari & Hornby, 2019; Fu et al., 2018; Hott et al., 2021). As seen in Table 3, lack of knowledge about criterion-referenced tests (f = 3; 42%) can be considered the biggest knowledge challenge faced by teachers. Regarding the aspect of IEP concept, studies by Fu et al. (2018) and Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) showed that many teachers (f = 2; 29%) still do not understand the concept of IEP, thus affecting the IEP implementation process. The phenomenon of insufficient understanding of the IEP concept is directly linked to teachers’ lack of knowledge about the support materials that are available for IEP learning and the activities that can be carried out to facilitate the IEP implementation process (Kozikoğlu & Albayrak, 2022). For the last aspect, ability level of LD children, two articles addressed this challenge (Almoghyrah, 2021; Shao et al., 2022). Teachers will also directly Reviewed study Aspects of teacher knowledge challenges Criterion- referenced tests IEP concept Ability level of LD children Akcin (2022) X Almoghyrah (2021) X Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) X Fu et al. (2018) X Hott et al. (2021) X Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) X Shao et al. (2022) X Frequency (f) 3 2 2 Percentage (%) 42 29 29
  • 30. 24 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter experience the challenge of lack of knowledge about the special education services required by an SEN child. However, Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) found that there are also special education teachers (i.e., non-Kuwaiti special education teachers) who have a high level of knowledge, especially in the process of preparing IEP reports. Goodwin et al. (2022) also reported that teachers were knowledgeable in providing measurable IEP goals for SEN children with TBI. 3.2 Teacher Skills Challenges Six of the reviewed articles reported that teachers are facing skill challenges in the IEP implementation process (Table 4). The three aspects involved here were IEP report preparation, collaboration, and evaluation process. Table 4: List of reviewed articles according to aspects of teacher skill challenges Reviewed study Aspects of teacher skill challenges IEP report preparation Collaboration Evaluation process Akcin (2022) X Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) X Hott et al. (2021) X X Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) X Shao et al. (2022) X Senay and Konuk (2019) X Frequency (f) 1 2 4 Percentage (%) 14 29 57 Regarding the process of preparing the IEP report, one study showed that teachers can be considered to lack the ability to prepare a complete report (f = 1; 14%), especially in terms of the level of achievement and functionality of SEN children (Hott et al., 2021). Considering the IEP implementation process, two articles showed that teachers still lacked the skills to collaborate with parents (f = 2; 29%), hence the IEP carried out being less effective (Senay & Konuk, 2019; Shao et al., 2022). Furthermore, teachers have also been assumed to experience big challenges in the IEP evaluation process (f = 4; 57%). This is because teachers still lack skills in terms of monitoring to identify the effectiveness of the IEP conducted, such as not being skilled in using criterion-referenced tests and being less efficient in identifying the level of development of SEN children after the IEP intervention has been carried out (Akcin, 2022; Al-Shammari & Hornby, 2019; Hott et al., 2021; Kozikoğlu & Albayrak, 2022). However, the study of Shao et al. (2022) also found that special education teachers can be considered capable of coordinating IEP interventions by following the SEN children’s ability level throughout the IEP implementation process.
  • 31. 25 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter 3.3 Teacher Attitude Challenges Four of the reviewed articles were related to the challenges of teachers’ negative attitudes towards the IEP implementation process (Table 5). The relevant aspects identified here were lack of motivation, negative attitude towards collaboration, and lack of confidence. Table 5: List of reviewed articles according to aspects of teacher attitude challenges Reviewed article Aspects of teacher attitude challenges Lack of motivation Negative attitude towards collaboration Lack of confidence Akcin (2022) X X Baglama et al. (2019) X Shao et al. (2022) X Fu et al. (2018) X X Frequency (f) 4 1 1 Percentage (%) 66 17 17 Table 5 shows that among the biggest challenges of teacher attitudes was lack of motivation (f = 4; 66%) (Akcin, 2022; Baglama et al., 2019; Fu et al., 2018; Shao et al., 2022). It was also found that teachers have a negative attitude towards collaboration (f = 1; 17%) (Akcin, 2022) and lack of confidence (f = 1; 17%) (Fu et al., 2018) to implement the IEP. However, three of the reviewed articles contradicted the findings of teacher negative attitudes towards the IEP implementation process. The three studies found that teachers showed a positive attitude towards all stages in the IEP implementation processes (Karaca et al., 2020; Kozikoğlu & Albayrak, 2022; Ruble et al., 2018). 3.4 Conceptual Framework Teacher challenges in the IEP implementation process as identified in the reviewed articles can be grouped into three main themes, namely challenges of teachers’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, respectively. We designed a conceptual framework (Figure 2) of teacher challenges in the three phases of the IEP implementation process for LD children, namely the preparation, implementation, and evaluation phases. Figure 2: Conceptual framework of the study
  • 32. 26 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Teacher competency has been used as a determinant of the challenge of implementing the IEP in schools. Among the factors that are taken into account to identify teacher challenges are knowledge level, skill level, and attitude. The components of teacher competency considered in determining the challenges teachers face in the IEP implementation process are consistent with Spencer and Spencer’s (1993) Iceberg Competency Model. Referring to Spencer and Spencer’s Competency Model, there are seven categories of competencies which can be divided into two groups. The first group includes the competencies above the water level, which comprises knowledge and skills. The second group includes the competencies below the water level, that is values, social roles, self-image, traits, and motives. The five components below the water level have been combined to make up one of the teacher competency components, that is in terms of attitude. Using this conceptual framework as a guide, we can clearly identify the challenges teachers face in implementing the IEP in terms of teacher competency, that is their level of knowledge, skill level, and attitude. 4. Discussion The purpose of this SLR study was to identify the most common challenges faced by teachers in the IEP implementation process for LD children. At the same time, the findings of this study were used to develop a conceptual framework based on the challenges of teachers most often found in past empirical studies. Twelve research articles were included in the SLR based on the acceptance criteria that were set. The IEP was first introduced in the United States by the Education for All All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (Sacks & Halder, 2017). However, the IEP has grown considerably so that most countries in the world are willing to implement it in their education systems. This is because the elements in the IEP are very appropriate and meet the needs of children with LD. Moreover, the special education system in Malaysia has also grown rapidly since 1990. According to Jelas and Mohd Ali (2012), a pre-service special education teacher training program was started through the collaboration of three universities in England in 1993. In October 1995, the Department of Special Education (now known as the Special Education Division or Bahagian Pendidikan Khas [BPK]) was established to coordinate the responsibilities of various stakeholders for the success of Malaysia’s special education system (Lee & Low, 2014). In implementing the special education curriculum, as per the Education (Special Education) Regulations (Malaysia. R. 3[4], 1997), teachers may modify the teaching or learning methods or techniques, the sequence of and time for activities, the subjects, and the teaching and learning resources in order to achieve the objectives and aims of special education. Collaboration can be seen as an essential element in effective IEP implementation (Groh, 2021). According to Al-Natour et al. (2015), effective collaboration requires effort, perseverance, training, and a willingness to share responsibility among the team members when making decisions. The special education teacher can clearly be considered the most significant individual in developing and building positive relationships with all the stakeholders so that the IEP can be implemented effectively.
  • 33. 27 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) found that the knowledge of teachers, whether special education or mainstream teachers, is very significant in each stage of IEP implementation, that is the report preparation, implementation, and evaluation stages. Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) discussed the elements that are related to the knowledge level of special education teachers in the IEP implementation process. These include having information about the IEP implementation process, knowing the support materials that can be used to learn the proses of IEP implementation, and knowing how to obtain support materials. Other elements involve knowing one’s own responsibility in implementing the IEP, knowing how to identify the current performance level of LD children, knowing how to determine annual goals, as well as knowing the activities that can be implemented. Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) also found that teachers have insufficient knowledge about the IEP concept. Directly, teachers also lack knowledge of activities or materials that can be used in enriching the IEP implementation process. The lack of understanding of the IEP concept is also reflected in teachers’ differing views on the definition of IEP (Fu et al., 2018). The challenge of teachers’ knowledge in the process of implementing the IEP cannot be seen only in terms of understanding the concept of IEP but also in terms of identifying the ability level of Down syndrome (DS) children (Almoghyrah, 2021; Shao et al., 2022). Results from Almoghyrah’s study (2021) showed that teachers did not show a high awareness of the characteristics of DS children. This unawareness attitude can cause teachers to not take into account DS children’s attitude factor in the process of preparing the IEP report. This phenomenon has directly affected the IEP implementation process because the IEP goals provided are not in line with the knowledge level of SEN children. In addition, Shao et al. (2022) stated that the reason for less relevant IEP goals is because special education teachers still lack a basic understanding of the actual ability and knowledge level of SEN children. The phenomenon of mismatch between SEN children’s needs and IEP support services or interventions is common in special education systems (Musyoka & Clark, 2017). Bateman (2011) likened a difficult- to-measure IEP target to “if you don’t know where you are going, you may not get there” (p. 106). Therefore, Goodwin et al. (2022) strongly encouraged IEP stakeholders, especially teachers, to set IEP goals that are relevant to SEN children’s needs, namely goals that are not only measurable but also of high quality. One of the biggest knowledge challenges for teachers is the lack of knowledge about data collection, especially in terms of the use of criterion-referenced tests. A study by Hott et al. (2021) found that the majority of the IEP goals provided include several important goals, such as improving functionality in terms of behavior and academic skills of LD children. However, the main source indicating IEP goal measurement is too dependent on teacher opinions and observations, not providing any quantitative measurements that can prove the effectiveness of an intervention (Hott et al., 2021). This phenomenon is caused by insufficient knowledge of teachers in developing a criterion-referenced test in making a detailed assessment (Akcin, 2022; Al-Shammari & Hornby, 2019). The findings of this SLR study are consistent with those of previous studies. These have shown
  • 34. 28 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter that the content and implementation steps of support services or interventions are often described in IEP reports, but that the measurement steps are not described properly (Raty et al., 2018; Ruble et al., 2018; Sanches-Ferreira et al., 2013). In addition, teachers not only need to be knowledgeable about the types of assessment instruments that can be used but also skilled in using those assessment instruments in the right context. For example, they need the ability to collect and interpret data based on the instruments used (McLeskey et al., 2017). In terms of IEP reporting, we found that teachers struggled to plan and create IEP reports according to individual differences between LD children. Next, regarding IEP implementation, Groh (2021) stated that for LD children to be successful, a positive collaborative relationship should be established between teachers and LD children’s families. In Senay and Konuk’s (2019) study, more than half (76%) the parents were unaware of the purpose of IEP implementation, and some parents misunderstood IEP as a kind of diagnostic report. A similar phenomenon was also found in the study of Shao et al. (2022), showing that only 14.29% of parents are actively involved in the IEP implementation process. Furthermore, Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022) found that the lack of effective communication, sharing, and collaboration among all stakeholders of the IEP team can make it difficult for special education teachers throughout the IEP implementation process. Clearly, the teacher can be seen as the most important agent in building a positive working relationship with all members of the IEP team for the IEP to be effectively implemented. The most common skill challenge faced by teachers is in the assessment process. Service quality refers to how the special education services provided to SEN children determine the success of these children (Groh, 2021). The evaluation process therefore plays a significant role in determining how an IEP has been implemented. However, Akcin (2022) found that as many as 61% of teachers indicated that their biggest challenge in the IEP implementation process was developing measurement tools, especially developing criterion-referenced tests in determining the development of SEN children. The same findings were made by Al-Shammari and Hornby (2019) and Kozikoğlu and Albayrak (2022), who reported that teachers showed a relatively low level of skill in the assessment process. Monitoring and evaluation procedures that are not clear and not objective will hinder the IEP implementation process (Hott et al., 2021). Since emotional factors are the driving force of the learning process (Kasap & Peterson, 2018; Kasap, 2021), teachers need to adopt a positive attitude towards the IEP implementation process to implement the IEP effectively. According to Vaz et al. (2015), one of the factors that can influence the attitude practiced by a teacher is self-efficacy in educating SEN children. Self-efficacy can be related to the degree to which a teacher feels that they are able to educate SEN children effectively (Vaz et al., 2015). Among the biggest challenges of teacher attitudes is the lack of motivation or enthusiasm to implement the IEP for LD children (Akcin, 2022; Baglama et al., 2019; Fu et al., 2018; Shao et al., 2022). This is due to the implementation process of the IEP, which involves various administrative tasks that can directly increase the workload of teachers (Akcin, 2022; Fu et al., 2018;
  • 35. 29 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter Shao et al., 2022). Hannah et al. (2019) also found that a shortage of qualified teachers in special education systems makes it difficult to implement programs related to special education. At the same time, Baglama et al. (2019) showed that in-service training duration of teachers on IEP implementation can influence their attitudes towards IEP. Their study showed that teachers who underwent longer service training displayed more positive attitudes and were more motivated to implement the IEP. The atmosphere of a teacher’s work environment and the length of time for which they receive in-service training on IEP can thus clearly influence their attitudes towards the IEP implementation process. Furthermore, Akcin (2022) also reported that most teachers have a negative view of collaboration in the IEP implementation process. This is because SEN children’s parents who have too high and unrealistic expectations for their children’s development have directly increased the pressure on teachers when discussing all the IEP implementation processes. In this regard, teachers always show fear of collaborative activities, especially when having discussions with parents. Not only that, the study of Fu et al. (2018) showed the challenge of teacher attitudes in terms of lack of confidence. Teachers are often considered to lack confidence in implementing the IEP goals for each LD child in the classroom context. This is due to teachers still lacking confidence to manage and educate each LD child in a different way in the same classroom (Fu et al., 2018). However, not all findings from the 12 reviewed articles indicated that teachers face challenges in all three aspects of competency challenges. For example, Al- Shammari and Hornby (2019) found that special education teachers have different levels of knowledge and experience, and that some teachers consider themselves to have good skills in implementing the IEP. In addition, some teachers feel less competent to implement the IEP. Therefore, after examining various studies that have been carried out, it was determined that the challenges of teachers in the process of implementing the IEP need to be identified so that various improvement efforts can be carried out to ensure that high-quality IEP services are provided to LD children. 5. Limitations of the Study This study had several limitations. First, even though the SLR conducted could reduce biased selection, there is still a high probability that other databases contain articles that meet the selection criteria. This is because, in this SLR study, articles from only two databases were involved. The second limitation is the use of keywords or a small data set, which led to some articles not being included in this SLR study. This situation occurs because there are articles that discuss the challenges of teachers in the IEP implementation process but are labeled using different names or keywords. The third limitation is that only full-text articles were selected for review. Articles that are similar but did not have the full text were thus excluded. Some databases require payment for full-text articles, which thus led to the exclusion of several articles related to SLR research.
  • 36. 30 http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter To strengthen this SLR study, the procedures of the study can be improved. In this regard, an empirical study should be conducted to verify the validity of the conceptual framework formed by conducting a survey study in Malaysia. Moreover, systematic and organized research and examination also needs to be conducted to examine whether the challenges identified are the greatest challenges for teachers in implementing the IEP or whether there are yet other challenges that have not been explored. This is because if there are other challenges, the conceptual framework developed needs to be modified or refined based on the latest research findings. The improvements made can thus allow for more robust and reliable research findings in the future. 6. Conclusion This SLR study sought to identify the most common competency challenges faced by educators in the IEP implementation process and to develop a conceptual framework based on the conducted analysis. This study was conducted by using articles from two leading databases, namely ERIC and Google Scholar. Based on the screening conducted, a total of 12 articles that meet all the criteria were identified. The results of the analysis showed that the phenomenon of insufficient knowledge in criterion-referenced tests is the biggest knowledge challenge faced by teachers. In terms of skill challenges, the biggest challenge experienced by teachers is doing the assessment process. Insufficient knowledge and skill in the evaluation process will result in difficulty measuring the effectiveness of an intervention or the development of an LD student. In terms of attitude challenges, teachers were found to lack motivation in implementing the IEP for LD children. However, several articles showed totally opposite results, namely that teachers have sufficient knowledge and skills and are positive in implementing the IEP. As such, to strengthen the research conducted, researchers need to use more general keywords so that all categories of articles related to the study to be conducted can be included in the study. Acknowledgement We thank the FPEND Futuristic Learning Special Research Fund GG-2021-010 for the support. 7. References Akcin, F. N. (2022). Identification of the processes of preparing individualized education programs (IEP) by special education teachers, and of problems encountered therein. Educational Research and Reviews, 17(1), 31–45. https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2021.4217 Almoghyrah, H. (2021). The challenges of implementing individualised education plans with children with Down syndrome at mainstream schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Teachers’ perspectives. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912x.2020.1870666 Al-Natour, M., Amr, M., Al-Zboon, E., & Alkhamra, H. (2015). Examining collaboration and constrains on collaboration between special and general education teachers in mainstream schools in Jordan. International Journal of Special Education, 30(1), 64−77. Al-Shammari, Z., & Hornby, G. (2019). Special education teachers’ knowledge and experience of IEPs in the education of students with special educational needs.