'n Verkennende ondersoek na die bevordering van die verhouding tussen opvoeders en leerders in vaardigheidskole
A healthy and positive relationship between educators and learners is an important aspect in the establishment and sustainability of a nurturing and enabling school environment. However, research pertaining to South African schools shows that schools currently face many challenges that threaten relationships in schools and adversely affect the general well-being of the individuals concerned. The situation is problematic in every school context, but even more so in schools where risk factors are present in a concentrated form, as is the case in schools of skills. The researcher has been involved as a school counsellor at various schools of skills in the Western Cape for the past three years and has noticed that schools of skills are often exposed to various risk factors that influence the daily interaction between educators and learners and also impede the fostering of a healthy relationship between educators and learners. It is therefore logical that the relationship between educators and learners in schools of skills is influenced by the particular circumstances and that the relevant risk factors could be contributing to the current situation in schools of skills. Limited research about the relationship between educators and learners in the context of schools of skills impedes the situation even more. This research study aims to make a contribution to the solution of the identified problem by investigating ways in which the relationships between educators and learners can be improved within the context of schools of skills in the Western Cape. A literature study and empirical investigation were undertaken to achieve a better understanding of the relationship between educators and learners in schools of skills and the way the respective parties experience it (the relationship). Therefore, the nature of the structure of this research study is qualitative phenomenological because it incorporates an investigation into the social relationships that connect educators and learners. The research study was done in four schools of skills in the Western Cape that is representative of the different settlement contexts in South Africa, namely urban, semi-urban and rural. The participants in the four various schools include educators (n=42) and learners (n=122). The collection of data took place in four phases and the following qualitative data collection methods were used: qualitative open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured individual interviews for educators as well as collages and semi-structured focus group interviews for learners. Thematic analysis of the respective data sets showed that the relationships between educators and learners can be improved by considering the contextual challenges both educators and learners are confronted with. Besides considering the contextual challenges it is also important to create spaces where relationships can be improved and learners can feel safe. This seems to be mainly the responsibility of the educators and can be done by setting clear boundaries and upholding healthy discipline. It was further demonstrated that the relationship between educators and learners in schools of skills can be improved by acting towards each other in such a way that mutual respect, mutual trust, the provision of care and support and open communication can be established as relationship-improving interaction patterns. In the light of the study’s findings, specific guidelines are provided to the educator at the school of skills and clear recommendations are made to the Department of Education with the aim of improving classroom relationships in schools of skills. In conclusion, recommendations are also made about further research to improve relationships between educators and learners in schools of skills.
- Humanities