The support needs of life orientation teachers in the Further Education and Training Band

Strydom, Verena Zita (2011-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South African youth are confronted by a range of challenges on a daily basis which can potentially evolve into serious barriers to learning and development. Life Orientation is a critical subject offered by the Further Education and Training (FET) band as it aims to prevent the development of such problems. Furthermore, the role played by the teacher in successfully and meaningfully presenting Life Orientation is a pivotal one. This study therefore aimed at understanding the support needs of Life Orientation teachers in the FET band in order to gain insight into the challenges experienced and what recommendations can be made to improve support to teachers, and consequently, learners. The theoretical framework on which this study was based was positive psychology as its emphasis on the fostering of positive individual traits, emotions and institutions is an appropriate and constructive way of understanding teachers’ support needs within their school communities. This study’s research methodology can be described as basic qualitative research which is embedded within an interpretive paradigm. Purposive sampling was used to select three schools and their Life Orientation departments as research participants. Three methods of data collection were employed, namely written reflective notes and semistructured focus group- and individual interviews. Furthermore, qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data. The research findings indicated that Life Orientation teachers in the FET band experience a range of support needs across the various levels within the school community. Teachers experience a tension between the expectations of the Department of Education, the needs of the learners, and their own expectations with regards to the facilitation of a community of care within the Life Orientation classroom. Support therefore needs to be aimed at increasing teachers’ competencies and providing opportunities to collaborate with other teachers to develop positive individual traits and foster positive emotions. Furthermore, school communities need to become aware of their attitudes and perceptions towards the subject so as to initiate processes which can lead to the promotion and development of positive, supportive institutions. A critical step in doing so is to consider policies regarding the appointment of Life Orientation teachers and ensure that qualified, specialist teachers who believe in the value of the subject are employed in these posts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse jeug word daagliks gekonfronteer met ‘n wye spektrum uitdagings wat potensiëel tot ernstige hindernisse vir leer en ontwikkeling kan ontwikkel. Lewensoriëntering is ’n noodsaaklike vak in die Verdere Onderwys en Opleidingsband (VOO) juis omdat dit poog om die ontwikkeling van hierdie hindernisse te verhoed. Die rol van die opvoeder in die suksesvolle en betekenisvolle aanbieding van Lewensoriëntering is deuslaggewend. Daarom poog hierdie studie om die ondersteuningsbehoeftes van Lewensoriënteringopvoeders te verstaan ten einde insig te verkry in die uitdagings wat hulle ondervind. Sodoende kan aanbevelings gemaak word vir die ondersteuning van opvoeders wat dan sal deurvloei na die leerders. Die teoretiese raamwerk van hierdie studie is positiewe sielkunde, aangesien dit die ontwikkeling van positiewe individuele kenmerke, emosies en organisasies beklemtoon. Dit is dus ’n toepaslike en konstruktiewe manier om die ondersteuningsbehoeftes van opvoeders binne hulle skoolgemeenskappe te verstaan. Die navorsingsmetodologie wat in hierdie studie gebruik is, kan beskryf word as basiese kwalitatiewe navorsing binne ’n interpretivistiese paradigma. ’n Doelgerigte steekproef is gebruik om drie skole en hul Lewensoriënteringdepartemente as deelnemers te identifiseer. Drie metodes van data-insameling is gebruik, naamlik geskrewe reflektiewe notas, semigestruktureerde fokusgroeponderhoude en individuele onderhoude. Verder is kwalitatiewe inhoudsanalise gebruik om die data te analiseer. Die navorsingsbevindinge het aangedui dat Lewensoriënteringopvoeders in die VOO band ’n wye verskeidenheid ondersteuningsbehoeftes binne die verskillende vlakke van die skoolgemeenskap ervaar. Opvoeders ervaar spanning tussen die verwagtinge van die Departement van Onderwys, die behoeftes van leerders en hul eie verwagtinge met betrekking tot die fassilitering van ’n omgeegemeenskap in die Lewensoriënteringklaskamer. Ondersteuning behoort dus te poog om die bevoegdhede van die opvoeder te verbeter en geleenthede daar te stel vir die ontwikkeling van positiewe individuele kenmerke en die vestiging van positiewe emosies. Verder behoort skoolgemeenskappe meer bewus te raak van hul persepsies en houdings teenoor die vak ten einde prosesse in plek te kan stel vir die bevordering en ontwikkeling van positiewe organisasies. ’n Kritiese stap in die bereiking hiervan, is die oorweging van beleide met betrekking tot die aanstelling van Lewensoriënteringopvoeders en die versekering dat gekwalifiseerde, gespesialiseerde opvoeders wat in die waarde van die vak glo, in hierdie poste aangestel word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6837
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