Masters Degrees (Educational Psychology)

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 332
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    Exploring the experiences of after-school programme practitioners in the Western Cape in supporting their rural/peri-urban community during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03 ) Dees, Sandy; Damons, Lynne; Rock, Chrischar; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Educational Psychology.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to examine the experiences of after-school practitioners operating in peri-urban and rural communities in the Western Cape, with a focus on their dynamic contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this research, we sought to appreciate the significant influence of these practitioners, who utilised their training, skills, expertise, and networks to navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic in their communities and organisations. The research was conducted from a social constructivist perspective and utilised a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) methodology that prioritised the involvement of the participants in the study. The participants, all of whom had undergone specialised training, collaborated with academic researchers to explore their community contexts and address emerging issues resulting from the pandemic. A multi-theoretical approach, including elements from Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model and cultural historical activity theory (CHAT), was used to analyse and interpret the data generated in this study. The triangulation of theories created an opportunity to explore the data from various vantage points and to produce new perspectives. The research process involved collecting data through semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and World Café sessions with ASP practitioners participating in peri-urban/rural and urban CBPAR projects, as well as field journal entries. An iterative data collection process was followed by a detailed thematic analysis of the data. Thematic analysis revealed diverse experiences of after-school practitioners and the importance of further professional development, networking, building partnerships and collaborating with stakeholders in their community to sustain the after-school sector. This study sheds light on the diverse motivations of after-school practitioners, surpassing traditional limits to cater to the changing requirements of their communities. In the context of the pandemic, after-school practitioners’ responsibilities expanded beyond providing a safe space to encompass immediate needs, such as ensuring food security and offering psychosocial support to their communities. Notwithstanding the challenges presented by the digital divide and their diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, the practitioners utilised technology and cutting-edge approaches effectively to ensure continued support. They acknowledged the crucial role of professional development and training in maintaining exceptional after-school programmes and, in doing so, emphasised the need for increased funding and collaboration within the sector. The research study provides valuable insights into the ways in which the after-school sector adapted and flourished during the pandemic, underscoring the importance of further investigations in multiple settings. I hope that this study will contribute to the growing body of knowledge surrounding the factors that promote the sustainability of the after-school sector.
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    Parental involvement in the academic success of first-generation black, female graduate students
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Goliath, Le-Anne Lezhaan; Daniels, Doria; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Educational Psychology.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: First-generation students are portrayed as being at a deficit, in literature. This is due to the overemphasis on the lack of experiential knowledge and preparedness, that literature assumes first-generation students, enter higher education environments with. In South Africa, and globally, there is a lack of asset-based research on the experiences of first-generation students, as it relates to experiences of parental involvement. As such, the purpose of the study was to shed light on the stories of successful first-generation black female graduate students, more specifically the role that family support plays in the educational success of this subset of firstgeneration students. The goal of the study was to explore, uncover and document the subjective realities of first-generation black, female graduate students, with a special focus on, their experiences of parental involvement in their academic success. Such a goal was embarked on through narrative inquiry. Three first-generation black, female graduate students were purposefully selected as the participants for the study. These women were selected based on an inclusion criterion that assisted in selecting information-rich participants. As such, the inclusion criteria required participants to; identify as female; have parents without higher education experience; be unmarried and unemployed; be enrolled as a full-time graduate student and either live with their parents or have active contact with their parents. The constructivist paradigm informed my thinking about first-generation students and their experiences in higher education while the Community Cultural Wealth framework influenced my thinking regarding the skills, abilities, and knowledge that first-generation student families offer their children. The three firstgeneration black female graduate students were studied using qualitative, semi-structured interviews and a focus group session. The data were analysed using thematic content analysis. After adhering to the six-step process, described by thematic analysis, three categories emerged: being a first-generation black female graduate student, parental involvement, and other sources of support that first-generation students perceive as essential to their academic success. According to the findings of the study, first-generation black female graduate students not only experience challenges, because of their first-generation status but also view their firstgeneration status as a benefit as it offers them a unique perspective. As first-generation black female graduate students, the women in the study experienced academic, financial, and transitional challenges, but also saw their family homes as a place of refuge, which they attribute to their first-generation status. Furthermore, these women attribute a great deal of their academic success to their lived experiences of parental involvement, as the involvement of their parents increased their aspirational and resistant capital that kept them motivated, despite their challenges. The findings show that these women do not regard their parent-daughter relationship to be mismatched because of their parent’s lack of experiential knowledge in higher education and view emotional support as most valuable to their academic success.
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    Mindfulness in countering dysregulation in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Gillespie, Micaela; Jacobs, Carmelita; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Educational Psychology.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The prevalence of autism is rising at an alarming rate. Despite this, there remains little evidence on how best to assist individuals with ASD and even less that focuses on the well-known vulnerable stage of transition between childhood and adulthood for individuals with ASD. This study explores the perceived effects of Mindfulness-Based Attention Therapy (MBAT) on adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in terms of emotional regulation, cognitive functioning, and overall well-being. A group of three adolescents, their parents and educator participated in the research, offering qualitative narratives to gain comprehensive insights into the influence of MBAT. The findings revealed that while individual responses to the intervention varied, participants, in general, reported positive outcomes. Key themes emerged, including heightened awareness and insight into emotional states, improved cognitive functioning, enhanced calmness and relaxation, and a sense of empowerment in managing emotions. Despite certain limitations, such as sample size and the absence of a control group, this study contributes to the emerging field of mindfulness-based interventions for adolescents with ASD. The results suggest that MBAT holds promise as a complementary approach to support emotional regulation and overall well-being for this population. Future research is encouraged to address these limitations and further refine the implementation of mindfulness practices for adolescents with ASD.
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    Experiences and practices of non-native English-speaking parents reading to their pre-school children
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Fleischack-Thomson, Anne; Conradie, Karlien; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Educational Psychology.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this research was to gain insight into the reading experiences and practices of parents/caregivers with their pre-school children. I was also interested in whether the parents/caregivers were exposing their children to stories/literature in other languages and in what other ways children’s interest in reading/literature in other languages could be described or identified. This was linked to the Language-in-Education Policy that exposes children to English from Grade 1 or Grade 4. The research was qualitative in nature and took the form of a case study design for which all the participants except one were sourced from one site. The participant recruitment took place through referral from the site after the participants showed interest in the study during a Grade R parents’ meeting. The participant not from the site was selected using snowball sampling. The participants were thus sampled via purposive sampling as I intentionally sought parents of pre-school-aged children who are literate and engaging in some form of reading with their children, to allow me to gain appropriate insight to answer my research questions. Each participant was interviewed once, and the interviews were audio recorded. The transcriptions were analysed using the six steps set out in Braun and Clarke’s (2022) reflexive thematic analysis method, using both inductive and deductive processes, and finally applied to Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model. Themes arising from the participants’ individual analyses are shared. The cross-case analysis, undertaken afterwards, revealed themes on the macrosystemic level such as TV can be a way to learn English, survival mode influences reading, moves to digital (newspaper) reading platforms, children playing outside, reading and gender roles, and reading and learning are sometimes left for the school space; on the exosystemic level there was a theme of the in/accessibility of libraries; and on the microsystemic level themes included making up stories for children, oral stories allowing space for creativity, the idea of children imitating their parents’ reading, and the possibility of reading becoming a lifestyle.
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    Teachers reporting on behavioural changes in young children since the COVID-19 pandemic
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) Tintinger, Shiree; Moen, Melanie; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Educational Psychology.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic has been identified as a significant global challenge to all individuals in the 21st century. During the pandemic, households worldwide had to go into lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Although the lockdown was implemented to protect individuals, it has resulted in immense negative consequences for both adults and children. The introduction to online schooling was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a very challenging time for children and educators, specifically in South Africa, as the COVID-19 pandemic amplified that educators were not trained to conduct online lessons. The high cost of devices, electricity and data contributed towards these challenges. Many studies around the world have explored the negative side effects in adults; however, limited research has been conducted on the negative side effects in children since the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the behavioural changes teachers observed after the Covid-19 pandemic. An exploratory qualitative research design within an interpretive paradigm was utilised in this study. The theoretical framework that was used to support the study was Bronfenbrenner’s Bio-ecological theory, which is a systems approach to human interaction. Bronfenbrenner believed that individuals have proximal processes that influence their development. This theoretical framework supported this study as it provided explanations for how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted individuals in different systems. Purposive sampling was used to select the eight participants of the study. The participants were from three different schools and had to be Foundation Phase teachers with experience working with young children before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Two data collection strategies were employed: a self-report questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The self-report questionnaire was used to get an indication of specific behavioural changes and the severity of these changes observed by the eight participants. The data were analysed through thematic analysis. The findings from the study indicated internal and external behavioural changes in young children since the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants indicated internal problems such as anxiety and attention problems in young children. External changes in young children included limited social skills and increased disruptive behaviour. Strategies to support young children with behavioural changes were suggested, which related to having a caring approach with learners, opportunities for continuous professional development for teachers, the appointment of intervention teachers and management teams providing support to teachers by having an open-door policy and providing advice on how to support these young children. Lastly, it is suggested that the Department of Education must ensure that the necessary support services such as a school counsellor, psychologist, occupational therapist and speech therapist are available at schools to assist the school with young children who are experiencing behavioural changes.