Learning experiences of students labelled as learning disabled in the Indonesian public primary schools. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
This ethnographic case study research is concerned with learning disabilities in Indonesia. My interest is in understanding how a particular group of students are defined by teachers and how teachers’ perceptions of students can influence students’ learning in daily classroom life. I draw on social constructionism as a framework to understand how learning disabilities are socially, culturally, and politically constructed.
This thesis comes from and has been a journey of questioning, comparing and contrasting the reality in a complex and pluralistic society like Indonesia. The study involves four teachers and eight students (four students labelled as learning disabled and four peers). Semi-structured interviews and participant observation were used to collect the data. The interviews with the students were more informal than those with the teachers. Fifteen interviews were conducted with teachers and eight with students. The interviews ranged in length from 15 to 60 minutes. The participant observations took place both inside and outside the classroom, including break-time.
The findings in this study challenge the practice of deficit constructions of learning disabilities. Discoveries about how students labelled as learning disabled are viewed and how such views are reflected in teaching and learning cannot be separated from how curriculum and education policies are enacted in teachers’ practices. In this thesis I argue that the view of ability that is narrowly understood as an innate and a fixed condition should be rejected to make way for new understandings of how schooling contributes to producing and maintaining failure and exclusion.