Foundation phase teachers' experiences of learner bullying and disruptive behaviour : a case study.
School bullying is an ever - increasing pandemic which is not only affecting schools in Kwa Zulu - Natal, but is also a national problem. Teachers encounter an increasing amount of bullying and disruptive behaviour in their schools. This study focused on the impact of bullying and disruptive behaviour on teacher morale and on teachers’ academic deliverance. The research was conducted in a primary school, focusing on the behaviour of the learners between the ages of 6 to 9, in the Foundation phase at the school. The teachers from the Foundation Phase at the school were interviewed with regards to their experiences with learner bullying and disruptive behavior. Their responses were recorded on a Dictaphone and were then transcribed. Using a qualitative methodology, the study found that bullying and disruptive behavior was prevalent at the school. The teachers expressed their concerns with regard to such behavior and its impact on their morale and the extent to which it affects teaching and learning in the classroom. The participants were able to identify a few characteristics or behaviour traits displayed by the bully or disruptive learner. The use of Kolb’s’ Experiential theory, which advocates that self-reflection of ones’ experiences allows one to explore ones’ experiences. This process allowed participants to reflect on experiences and then learn from them. The findings show that teachers felt that time was wasted on discipline issues and that they require more support from parents and the school. As a result of learner bullying and disruptive behavior, teachers were despondent as this impacted on their mental health. The study recommends that the Department of Education provides support structures for teachers and learners as bullying is a result of emotional and physical imbalances which could take place at the home or school front. For teachers, support may be in the form of compulsory developmental workshops on how to handle with discipline issues. This could also be a part of the pre- service training as the newer teachers who are entering this field are experiencing great difficulty with this phenomenon.