This study followed a case study design. The reason for choosing a case study was to investigate the phenomenon," challenges faced by teachers" The context of this study was a regular school for teaching children with special needs in a sub-urban setting in southern Ethiopia. The main method was interview. Direct observation, informal interview and document analysis were also used as supplementary method. The instruments used to collect data were semi-structured guides with some open -ended questions for the interviews, an observation guide for direct observation and questions formulated around the topic for informal interview. Interviews were tape recorded, with the permission of the informants, while observations were handwritten in a field notebook.
The study focused on teachers in one regular second cycle primary school who taught learners who had special needs in regular classes at grade 7. Sampling criteria in this study was purposeful, where six teachers and three key persons who had information rich were selected.
The results of the study showed that teachers teaching this regular second cycle primary school faced challenges concerning knowledge, skills and experience on how to teach learners who have special needs together with the regular learners in the same class. None of the six interviewed teachers was trained in special needs education. Other challenges that were revealed in the study were: lacking in-service training, rigidity of the curriculum, shortage of teaching materials, lacking collaboration among teachers and between the parents and school, inadequate fund and lack of clear guidelines for inclusion. However, all the teachers who participated in this study were willing to teach children with special needs in their classroom and seemed to support the idea of integration or inclusion.
The findings of the study cannot be generalized, as this is a case study. However, these findings can be useful to fifty-five teachers in the school where the study was done. The Ministry of Education and the Oromya Regional State Education bureau can use the results to improve working conditions for teachers' in order to prevent further challenges faced by teachers. The results can also serve as a guide to institutions responsible for curriculum development as well as the teacher training institutions and colleges in Ethiopia. Finally, the results should have implications for policy and practice concerning learners with special needs in the regular school.