Exploring identity formation in adolescents who attended a school of skills

Jacobs, Carmelita (2014-04)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Identity formation is a multifaceted process that has implications for how one feels about oneself and the decisions one makes about one's future. Developmental theorists have therefore become increasingly interested in the impact of contextual factors on the development of identity formation, especially the school context. The aim of this research was to explore how adolescents who have attended a school of skills perceive their identity. In order to do this, this research made use of a basic qualitative research design that is embedded within the interpretive paradigm. Participants were purposively selected and invited to take part in the study, after which four participants and their parents willingly participated. Interviews were used as the primary method of data collection along with the researcher's reflexive notes and an inductive process of qualitative thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data. The results revealed variability in responses, as individuals made meaning according to their own construction of past experiences within and outside the school context. The study showed that the participants entered the school of skills with a poor sense of self due to the lack of support and guidance and the effects of being labelled and excluded in the mainstream primary school. The results further indicate that schools of skills face severe negative public evaluation, which had a negative impact on how the participants felt about being referred to and having to attend a school of skills. However, most of the participants felt that their attendance at a school of skills had shaped their sense of identity in a positive way, as public forms of evaluation were mitigated by significant relations with teachers and a sense of belonging among their peers. Finally, although the participants feel more positive about themselves, they are concerned about their future vocational opportunities, as they feel that the school has not offered a contribution for a viable identity. The findings of this study will inform counsellors, school personnel and parents regarding identity-related issues in the school context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Identiteitsvorming is 'n proses met baie fasette en het baie implikasies vir hoe 'n mens oor jouself voel en hoe jy besluite oor die toekoms neem. Ontwikkelingsteoretici het dus toenemend begin belangstel in die impak van kontekstuele faktore op die ontwikkeling van identiteitsvorming, veral in die skoolkonteks. Die doel van hierdie navorsing was om ondersoek in te stel na hoe adolessente wat 'n vaardigheidskool bygewoon het hul identiteit sien. Ten einde dit te doen, is gebruik gemaak van 'n basiese kwantitatiewe ontwerp, wat interpretasie-paradigma insluit. Deelnemers is doelbewus gekies en uitgenooi om aan die studie deel te neem, en vier deelnemers en hul ouers het ingewillig om deel te neem. Onderhoude is gebruik as die primêre metode van data-insameling tesame met die navorser se besinnende aantekeninge. 'n Induktiewe proses van kwalitatiewe tema-ontleding is gebruik om die data te ontleed. 'n Verskeidenheid resultate is gevind as gevolg van individue se interpretasie van ervarings in die verlede binne en buite die skoolkonteks. Die studie toon dat deelnemers wat by 'n vaardigheidskool skoolgaan 'n swak selfbeeld het. Die studie dui verder aan dat die gebrek aan ondersteuning, leiding, etikettering en uitsluiting in die hoofstroom-laerskool 'n impak gehad het op deelnemers se lae selfbeeld. Die studie wys verder ook dat die negatiewe publieke persepsie 'n negatiewe invloed het op hoe deelnemers voel oor die verwysing na en bywoning van 'n vaardigheidskool. Tog het die meeste van die deelnemers gevoel dat hul bywoning van 'n vaardigheidskool hul sin van identiteit op 'n positiewe manier beïnvloed het. Goeie verhoudings met onderwysers en 'n gevoel van behoort onder hul eweknieë het die impak van die negatiewe persepsie versag. Hoewel die deelnemers positiewer oor hulself voel, is hulle bekommerd oor hul toekomstige beroepsgeleenthede, aangesien hulle voel dat 'n vaardigheidskool nie 'n bydrae tot 'n lewensvatbare identiteit bied nie. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie sal beraders, skoolpersoneel en ouers bewus maak van identiteitskwessies in die skoolkonteks.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86256
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