A qualitative investigation of primary school teachers and their experience of illegitimate tasks in selected schools in the Cape Town Metro Central Educational District
Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : The quality of basic education in South Africa is in need of interventions aimed at the improvement of the general standard of education offered in many public schools (Spaull, 2013). Research has shown that teachers are important role players that impact this standard (Schleicher, 2011). In consideration of this, an investigation of the work experiences of primary school teachers in selected schools in the Cape Town Metro Central Education District was undertaken. More specifically, the subjectively perceived experience of illegitimate tasks amongst primary school teachers in their daily profession were explored. Furthermore, the influential environmental and/or psychological factors which contributed to the perceptions of illegitimate tasks and how these tasks influenced the emotions, physiological health, and behaviours of teachers in the South African education system, were additionally explored. The study was guided by a qualitative research approach and was based on the assumptions of the interpretivist (i.e. relativist) research paradigm. This approach was adopted to gain insight into the lived experiences of teachers within their working environments. The study was cross-sectional in nature and qualitative individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with participating primary school teachers (N=10) from selected schools in the Cape Town Metro Central Education District of the Western Cape Education Department. After the transcription of the interviews, thematic analysis was used to interpret, analyse and report the data. The findings of the study, based on the perceptions and experiences of participating teachers, were distilled into nine major themes: (1) Illegitimate tasks which form part of the workload of teachers; (2) Illegitimate tasks which fall out of the scope of practice for teachers; (3) Environmental factors which contribute to the experience of illegitimate tasks; (4) Psychological factors contributing to the experience of illegitimate tasks; (5) Emotional and/or psychological outcomes of illegitimate tasks; (6) Physical outcomes of illegitimate tasks; (7) Behavioural outcomes of illegitimate tasks; (8) The time-consuming nature of illegitimate tasks; and (9) Mechanisms that buffer the effects of illegitimate tasks. The findings obtained in this study can potentially be used to inform various interventions that can help to address challenges associated with the experience of illegitimate tasks amongst primary school teachers in the South African context. The recommendations of the study, which focussed on interventions aimed at the experience of illegitimate tasks, environmental and psychological factors, outcomes, and buffers to illegitimate tasks, were discussed. By addressing the experience of illegitimate tasks, the contributing factors of illegitimate tasks, the negative outcomes of illegitimate tasks and enhancing the mechanisms which could potentially provide buffers against the effects of illegitimate tasks, the work experiences of primary school teachers can be impacted positively. This, in turn, may potentially improve the general standard of education offered in many public schools across the country.
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