The lived experiences of Grade 11 learners considered academically gifted

Rabie, Erika Henrihet (2013-12)

Thesis (MEd(Psych))-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gifted children represent an important component of a nation's intellectual capital, with the resources to find innovative solutions to scientific and social challenges. Since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994, limited attention has been paid to gifted education as a research focus. To ensure quality education for all learners, current educational policy supports inclusive education. However, there is a gap between the policies which have been developed and their implementation at grassroots level in the school and classroom. In particular, several recent South African studies on gifted education suggest that gifted learners are at the end of the queue for educational provision. In this qualitative and collective instrumental case study, framed within an interpretive paradigm, I set out to explore the lived experiences of academically gifted Grade 11 learners. I wanted to gain an insight into how it felt to be gifted, and how their experiences played out in the various systems in their respective contexts. A further aim was to assess their specific academic support needs, in order to make a contribution to designing quality education for this particular group. The expression of giftedness is viewed as dependent on the interactions of the child with his or her environment, so Bronfenbrenner's bio-ecological model was taken as the theoretical framework for the study. I chose a descriptive multiple case study design, using purposive sampling to select six participants, three from each of two schools in sharply contrasting socio-economic backgrounds in a large rural town. I used three methods of data collection, semi-structured individual interviews, a semi-structured focus group interview, and collages. Qualitative content analysis was used for both phases of data analysis, within-case analysis and cross-case analysis. The findings showed that gifted learners from both affluent and disadvantaged backgrounds faced similar challenges in developing their potential. They often felt neglected and academically under-stimulated. They identified specific deficiencies in both their schools and communities which needed to be addressed to ensure optimal learning opportunities. Despite the similarity of their experiences, the learners from the school in the disadvantaged community had to combat greater challenges than those from an affluent background.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Begaafde kinders verteenwoordig 'n baie belankrike komponent van 'n nasie se intellektuele kapitaal. Hulle beskik oor innerlike bronne om innoverende oplossings vir wetenskaplike asook sosiale uitdagings te bied. Vanaf die aanvang van demokrasie in 1994 in Suid-Afrika, is beperkte aandag aan begaafdekindonderwys as navorsingsfokus gegee. Die huidige onderwysbeleid ondersteun inklusiewe onderwys om sodoende kwaliteit onderrig aan alle leerders te verseker. Daar blyk egter 'n gaping te wees tussen beleidsontwikkeling en die inplementering daarvan op grondvlak, in skole en klaskamers. Verskeie onlangse Suid-Afrikaanse studies oor begaafdekindonderwys dui in die besonder daarop dat begaafde leerders agter in die ry staan as dit kom by voldoende onderwysvoorsiening. In hierdie kwalitatiewe, kollektiewe en instrumentele gevallestudie, ingebed binne die raamwerk van 'n interpretatiewe paradigma, het ek my beywer om die beleefde ervaringe van akademies begaafde Graad 11 leerders te ondersoek. Ek wou insig bekom oor hoe hulle, hulle eie begaafdheid ervaar, asook hoe dit uitspeel in die verskillende sisteme binne hulle onderskeie kontekste. 'n Verdere doelwit van hierdie studie was ook om spesifiek hulle akademiese ondersteuningsbehoeftes te evalueer ten einde sodoende 'n bydrae te lewer ten opsigte van die ontwerp van kwaliteit onderrig vir hierdie spesifieke groep. Die interaksies tussen die kind en sy of haar omgewing speel 'n belangrike rol in die uitdrukking van begaafdheid. Om hierdie rede is Bronfenbrenner se bio-ekologiese model as teoretiese raamwerk vir hierdie studie aangewend. Ek het 'n beskrywende, veelvuldige gevallestudie-ontwerp gekies en doelmatigheid-steekproefneming aangewend om die ses deelnemers, drie van twee skole in sterk kontrasterende sosio-ekonomiese agtergronde in 'n groot plattelandse dorp, te selekteer. Ek het drie metodes, naamlik semi-gestruktureerde individuele onderhoude, 'n semi-gestruktureerde fokusgroep-onderhoud asook collages, ingespan om data in te samel. Kwalitatiewe inhoudsanalise is gebruik vir beide data-analisefases, naamlik binne-geval-analise en kruis-geval-analise. Die bevindinge het getoon dat begaafde leerders van beide welvarende en benadeelde agtergronde soortgelyke uitdagings ten opsigte van die ontwikkeling van hul potensiaal in die gesig staar. Hulle het dikwels verwaarloos en akademies onder-gestimuleer, gevoel. Hulle het spesifieke leemtes in beide hulle skole en gemeenskappe geïdentifiseer wat aangespreek moet word om optimale leergeleenthede te verseker. Ten spyte van die ooreenkomste in hul ervarings, moes die leerders van die skool in die agtergeblewe gemeenskap groter uitdagings die hoof bied as die leerders van die meer gegoede agtergrond.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85711
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