The experiences of adolescents in residential care participating in equine assisted learning

Fischer, Louise (2014-04)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: High-risk behaviour among adolescents places heavy burdens on the public health, social welfare and criminal justice systems of many countries. Today, Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) is increasingly used as an adjunct and experiential intervention programme to support the learning and personal development of adolescents at risk. It combines counselling and educational programmes with interactive activities involving horses (Thomas, 2009). The aim of this investigation was to conceptualize the experiences of these at-risk adolescents in residential care (AIRC), since gaps exist in both international and national research pertaining to studies which focus on exploring adolescents' experiences of taking part in EAL programmes (Holder, 2011). An interactive, qualitative and multiple case study design was employed in this study. The research was conducted at a Western Cape residential care facility with five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18, after they had completed a three-week EAL programme. The programme comprised five sessions of one hour each. Data was collected through a projective technique (collage), semi-structured individual interviews, and a focus group interview. The research findings suggested that the at-risk adolescents experienced this Equine-Assisted Learning programme as positive and that it contributed to strengthening their relationships, enhancing attachment, self-esteem, empathy, communication, social competence, and a sense of mastery, as well as opening up future possibilities for them. As a relatively new field of study in South Africa, Equine-Assisted Learning can make a significant contribution to fostering the learning and development of adolescents in residential care.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoë-risiko gedrag van adolessente plaas 'n swaar las op lande se openbare gesondheid, maatskaplike welsyn- en kriminele regstelsels en sodoende word 'Equine Assisted Learning' (EAL) toenemend gebruik as 'n aanvullende en ervarings-intervensieprogram om die leer en persoonlike ontwikkeling van adolessente in nood te ondersteun. In EAL, word berading en opvoedkundige programme met interaktiewe aktiwiteite wat perde betrek, gekombineer (Thomas, 2009). Die doel van die studie was om hoë-risiko adolessente in residensiële sorg se ervarings van 'n EAL intervensieprogram te konseptualiseer, aangesien daar op beide internasionale en nasionale vlak 'n gebrek aan navorsing is wat fokus op die verkenning van adolessente se ervaring van deelname aan EAL programme (Holder, 2011). 'n Interaktiewe, kwalitatiewe en veelvuldige gevallestudie ontwerp is in hierdie studie ontplooi. Die navorsing is uitgevoer in 'n Wes-Kaapse residensiële sorg fasiliteit met die hulp van vyf adolessente tussen die ouderdomme van 12 en 18, nadat hulle drie weke lank aan 'n EAL program deelgeneem het. Die program het bestaan uit vyf sessies wat elk een uur geduur het. Data is ingesamel deur gebruik te maak van projektiewe tegniek (collage), semi-gestruktureerde individuele onderhoude asook 'n fokusgroep-onderhoud. Navorsingbevindings het voorgestel dat adolessente wat risiko beloop, die EAL program as positief ervaar. Dit blyk ook dat dit bygedra het tot die bevordering van sekere aspekte soos verhoudings, hegting, selfbeeld, empatie, kommunikasie, sosiale bevoegdheid, 'n gevoel van bemeestering en die daarstel van toekomstige moontlikhede. 'Equine Assisted Learning' is 'n relatiewe nuwe studieveld in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, en kan daarom betekenisvol bydra tot die bevordering van leer en ontwikkeling van adolessente in residensiële sorg.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86692
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