Youth discourses of achievement at a school in Cape Town

Matope, Jasmine (2012-03)

Thesis (MEd) -- Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explored the views of thirteen youth at Victoria High School about what they regarded as achievement and how this influenced their lives and what they thought about their futures. The starting premise of the study was that all learners think about achievement. The goal of the study was thus to show how different learners connect this understanding of achievement with their respective aspirations and the kinds of social and schooling worlds they inhabit. The key contribution of the study is the ways it links the social, cultural, and economic worlds of each of the thirteen learners to what they say about what they do and what they want to do, who they are and who they want to be, and what they think they do and what they think they want to do. The study shows that the life-worlds of each of the learners are significantly different yet the ways they go about making sense of that world are fairly similar. In that regard it is shown that the school, and what learners, parents and educators think it is and does, plays a crucial role in the sense-making process. As Berkhout (2008) notes, the different contexts that shape the lives of individuals are not simply external forces but rather are integral parts of their identity-making process. The study used the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Arjun Appadurai to bring together a framework by which to understand what learners said about their worlds and their aspirations, as well to develop a narrative that showed the rich and complex ways in which learners engaged with their realities. The study followed an interpretive qualitative approach to explore the issue of achievement and based its arguments on interviews conducted with thirteen youth between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years old. In this regard, a key finding was that learners approached the notion of achievement in developmental, cumulative, and progressive ways. These views included wanting to be popular, gaining new knowledge, preparing for future material acquisition, developing skills to lead decent lives, acquiring happiness, developing the ability to overcome their challenges and circumstances, and gaining skills and recognition that set up their futures. Five staff members at Victoria High school were also interviewed for their views of the schooling context and the kinds of cultures and legacies that framed their practice.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tesis is gefokus op die denke van dertien studente van Victoria Hoërskool aangaande die nosie van prestasie, en hoe hierdie denke hul lewens beïnvloed sowel as wat hulle dink van hul toekoms. Die vertrekpunt van die verbande studie was dat alle leerders oor prestasie dink. Die doel van die tesis (daaruitvoortspruitend) was dus om aan te toon hoe verskillende leerders ʼn verband aanlê tussen hul beskouing van prestasie, hul aspirasies en die maatskaplike- en skoolwêrelde wat hul beleef. Die kern bydrae van die tesis is die verbande wat gemaak is in die verbande studie tussen die sosiale, kulturele en ekonomiese wêrelde van elkeen van die dertien leerders ten opsigte van hul beskouing aangaande wat hulle doen en wil doen, wat hulle is en wil wees, en wat hulle dink hulle doen en wil doen. Die tesis toon aan dat die leefwêreld van elk van die leerders merkbaar verskillend is, maar dat die wyse waarop hulle betekenis gee aan hul leefwêreld tog redelik ooreenstem. In hierdie verband is dit getoon dat die skool, en wat leerders, ouers en onderwysers daaromtrent dink, ʼn kardinale rol speel in hul betekenisvormingsproses. Berkhout (2008) voer in hierdie verband aan dat die verskillende kontekste wat die lewens van individue vorm nie slegs eksterne magte is nie, maar eerder integrale dele van hul identiteitsvormings proses is. Die studie maak gebruik van die werk van Pierre Bourdieu en Arjun Appadurai om ʼn raamwerk te ontwikkel om leerders se beskouinge van hul wêrelde en aspirasies te verstaan, sowel as om ‘n narratief te ontwikkel wat die ryk en komplekse wyses waarop leerders met hul realiteite omgaan, aan te toon. Die tesis, en verbande studie, het ʼn interpretatiewe, kwalitatiewe benadering gevolg om die idee van prestasie te verken en het die tesis argumente baser op onderhoude met dertien leerders tussen vyftien tot sewentienjaar oud. ʼn Kernbevinding in hierdie verband was dat leerders die idée van prestasie op ontwikkelings-, kumulatiewe- en progressiewe wyses benader. Beskouinge van leerders in die verband sluit onder andere in, die behoefte om populêr te wees, die verkryging van nuwe kennis, voorbereiding om materiële goedere in die toekoms te bekom, die ontwikkeling van vaardighede noodsaaklik vir ʼn ordentlike lewe, die strewe na geluk, die ontwikkeling van die vermoë om hul uitdagings en omstandighede te oorkom, en die ontwikkeling vaardighede en erkenning noodsaaklik vir hul toekoms. Onderhoude is ook gevoer met vyf personeellede van Victoria hoërskool om hul beskouinge ten opsigte van die skoolkonteks en die soort kulture en erfenisse wat hul praktyk informeer te bepaal.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20271
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