A framework for the promotion of healthy school environments to enhance the well-being of educators in public schools
Mabunda, Nzama Kenneth
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This study which focused on developing a framework for promotion of healthy school environments to enhance the well-being of educators in public schools was conducted in the Shamavunga Circuit in Mopani East District, Limpopo, South Africa. This study noted the serious challenges facing rural public schools with regards to employment and retention of qualified educators with good teaching records in South Africa. The well-being of educators can be affected by unfavourable working conditions in such environments. As a result, this study developed a theory-based framework for principals to create school environments that will enhance the well-being of educators. The paradigm that guided this study is emancipatory, it adopted a qualitative research design. A participatory action research approach was used to identify aspects of the school environment that have an impact on the well-being of educators. Photovoice, focus group interviews, individual interviews and observations were used to gather data. The study was conducted in one rural high school which was purposefully sampled. The sample comprised ten participants, namely, two members of the SMT, two members of the school health committee, three educators whose subjects have high learner enrollment, two members of the School Governing Body and one department official who worked at the wellness section at the Mopani East Education District. The research findings revealed several factors that constrain or promote the well-being of educators in the school environment. Educator well-being was found to be a multidimensional construct that includes emotional, physical and cognitive well-being. A positive well-being was associated with physical comfort, safety, thermal comfort, availability of water and resources and attractive school surroundings, while a negative well-being pertained to unclean surroundings, physical facilities that were poorly maintained and shortage of toilets. A conclusion drawn from this exposition of lessons is that school principals can play a salient role in promoting healthy school environments in order to address the issue of educator well-being in schools. This study recommends a theory-based framework for principals to promote healthy environments for a better educator well-being. This framework is empirically derived as the constructs employed in developing it were from the findings of the research conducted. Four principles of Senge’s theory of learning organisations, namely, vision building and sharing, systems thinking, team learning and mental models were used as driving force for principals to promote healthy environments.
- Education 
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