Learners' perceptions of relational aggression in metropolitan and rural primary schools
Du Plessis, Annemarie Magdaleen
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This study aims at exploring learners' perceptions of relational aggression in the intermediate phase of metropolitan and rural primary schools. The aim of the study was to investi~ate and explore learners' perceptions and experiences of relational a~wession in the intermediate phase of primary school education. Research into the phenomenon of relational aggression among primary school learners is still in its infancy; there are few studies on this phenomenon in the South African school context. It is also important to note that relational aggression is a form of aggression that is covert in nature and is difficult to observe by teachers and parents, although the effects are considered to be at least as harmful as those experienced by victims of ongoing physical and verbal acts of aggression. - - -- -- This qualitative phenomenological study is situated in Social Learning Theory and the Social Information Processing Theory. I chose this design in order to gain understanding into the perceptions and experiences of primary school learners who are employing or experiencing relational aggression. Several methods of data collection were used, including peer nomination, field notes and semi-structured individual interviews. Two themes emerged from the data analysis which uses open coding. These themes reveal that the learners in the study experience relational aggression in different ways and that they are able to articulate ways of dealing with relational aggression. The exploration of each theme and its categories and sub-categories includes verbatim quotations from the transcribed interviews followed by the relevant literature located by the researcher which provided substantiation for the findings. This study indicates that learners are experiencing relational aggression on an almost daily basis. This has a negative impact on learners, resulting in their experiencing intense emotions. It seems that teachers are neither aware of relationally aggressive acts nor who the perpetrators are. These and other findings emphasise the importance of further research into the phenomenon of relational aggression in a South African context. The guidelines and skills development are aimed at assisting learners who are experiencing relational aggression to deal with instances of relational aggression.
- Education