A case study of how secondary school teachers deal with poor academic performance of grade 9 learners
Phaladi, Dikonketso Dessia
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The poor academic performance of learners in South African secondary schools is a growing concern particularly in senior grade levels. It becomes all the more important to investigate the causes of poor academic performance of learners who are about to exit into further education and training in order to find strategies to deal with the causes. This study used the case study approach to investigate how secondary school teachers deal with poor academic performance ~f grade 9 learners in the Rekopantswe area office in purposefully selected schools. Bronfenbrenner s ecological systems theory and Vygotsky s concept of Zone of proximal development provided the theoretical framework for this study. The participants were heads of departments, teachers and learners from four secondary schools. A qualitative case study research method was used and the empirical study was conducted by means of survey instruments, interviews and document analysis. The responses from the survey instrument and interviews were qualitatively analysed. Themes were developed from the empirical and literature study to answer the research questions. The findings show that the causes of poor academic performance are lack of resources, overcrowded classrooms, language of instruction, age cohort policy, learner attitude, absenteeism, teachers lack of knowledge, lack of proper foundation of learners, grouping of repeating learners in the same class, lack of parental involvement, excessive house chores, drugs and medical problems. Currently, teachers do not implement any particular strategy to address poor academic performance. However, they suggested early identification, early intervention, training, varied teaching methodologies and extra classes as possible strategies to deal with this problem. The causes of poor academic performance in the Rekopantswe Area Office stem from both intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to learning. The strategies for dealing with this problem should focus on the school, home and social environment. The government, schools and parents need to cooperate to provide sufficient resources, enabling class environment, proper training of teachers, and psychological support for learners to enable them to improve upon their performance.
- Education