Narratives of teachers’ experiences of school violence and ethics of care

Grobler, Gertruida Wilhelmina (2018-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The ethics of care perspective is based on the notion that we form relationships and that we are naturally responsive to the needs of others. In schools, caring relationships between teachers and learners suggests that teachers will act caringly, and attend to learners’ academic, social and emotional needs. This study aimed to extend our understanding of how high school teachers’ experiences of school violence may or will influence the enactment of care practices in teaching from an ethics of care perspective. I employed a qualitative, narrative research design within an interpretivist/constructivist paradigm. As a narrative study of limited scope, this research focused on the personal experiences of four teachers, who taught at three secondary schools in Cape Town where school violence was prevalent. Teachers’ stories of their experiences of school violence, known as experience-centred narratives, were collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews according to themes, including what it means to be teacher, to care for learners as a teacher and about the nature and effect of school violence. Data analysis occurred by means of thematic experienced-centred narrative analysis and representative constructions of teachers’ narratives. The research findings suggest that teachers can enact an ethics of care in circumstances where they are exposed to school violence, but that this ability is largely dependent on the strength of the ethical self. While teachers maintain caring relationships with some learners, they can deliberately refuse to care for others. When the ethical self is maintained, teachers will behave caringly, establish trusting relationships with learners and step into caring roles. When experiences of school violence, however, lead to the erosion of the ethical self, teachers’ professional identities change, and their ways of teaching and engaging with learners in their classrooms become negative. The erosion of the ethical self can generate feelings of guilt that will impact teachers’ efficacy beliefs about themselves as teachers. The result of resilience in teachers is a strengthening of the ethical self. When this happens, an ethics of justice which is the response to school violence, can be balanced with an ethics of care response. Teachers who are more resilient will find a purpose and meaning when they have to teach learners in schools where violence occurs. This enables them to continue their teaching career in these challenging contexts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die etiek van sorg is gegrond op die idee dat dit vir ons natuurlik is om verhoudings met ander te hê en dat ons binne daardie verhoudings sal reageer op die behoeftes van ander. In skole waar daar sorgsame, deernisvolle verhoudings tussen onderwysers en leerders is, sal onderwysers met sorg optree en omsien na die akademiese, sosiale en emosionele behoeftes van leerders. Hierdie studie het dit dus ten doel gehad om uit te vind hoe onderwysers se ondervindings van skoolgeweld hul sorgpraktyke in skole mag of sal beïnvloed. Ek het ’n kwalitatiewe, narratiewe navorsingsontwerp binne ’n interpretivistiese / konstruktivistiese paradigma gebruik. Weens die beperkte omvang van hierdie studie, het ek gefokus op die ervaringe van vier onderwysers, wat by drie skole in Kaapstad skoolhou. Hierdie onderwysers het almal ondervinding van skoolgeweld gehad. Ek het in-diepte, semigestruktureerde onderhoude gebruik om die onderwysers se stories oor skoolgeweld, bekend as ondervindinggesentreerde narratiewe, in te samel. Die data-ontleding het geskied aan die hand van tematiese ondervindinggesentreerde narratiewe analise en die konstruksie van verteenwoordigende narratiewe van onderwysers se ondervindings van skoolgeweld. Die bevindings dui daarop dat onderwysers wel met ’n etiek van omgee kan optree in omstandighede waar hulle aan skoolgeweld blootgestel word, maar dat hierdie vermoë grootliks afhang van die standhoudendheid van die etiese self. Terwyl onderwysers deernisvolle verhoudings met sommige leerders het, kan hulle bewustelik hul sorg en aandag van ander leerders weerhou. Wanneer die etiese self egter onderhou word, sal onderwysers in vertrouensverhoudings met leerders staan en versorgingsrolle vervul. Ondervindings van skoolgeweld kan egter tot ’n verwering van die etiese self lei, waar onderwysers se professionele identiteit verander, en die manier waarop hulle met leerders omgaan, toenemend negatief raak. Die verwering van die etiese self kan skuldgevoelens in onderwysers ontlok, wat hul sienings oor hoe doeltreffend hulle hul werk as onderwysers verrig, nadelig sal beïnvloed. As onderwysers veerkragtig is, word die etiese self egter versterk, en kan onderwysers daadwerklik optree om die geregtigheid wat in reaksie op skoolgeweld volg, te versag met die etiek van sorg. Veerkragtige onderwysers sal ook bly skoolhou op plekke waar hulle skoolgeweld ervaar het, omdat hulle dit as hul lewensdoel beskou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103429
This item appears in the following collections: