Primary school teachers’ experiences of violence towards them perpetrated by learners.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of primary school teachers’ who were victims of learner-perpetrated violence. The teachers’ experiences were examined to gain insight and understanding of the types of violence, the contributing factors towards learner perpetrated violence, and the effects of said violence on the well-being and professional performance of teachers. The study also sought to highlight intervention strategies to decrease or curb future incidences. A qualitative research underpinned by an interpretive paradigm was employed with the use of semi-structured interviews and an observation checklist. Three schools were selected and a sample group of two teachers per school were selected according to their responses on the pre questionnaire that was distributed. Data was then analysed utilising thematic content analysis. The findings suggested that primary school teachers experienced a higher incidence of verbal aggression viz. back chatting and swearing than physical aggression. Although this study did not show a trend towards physical violence targeted at teachers, it was found that teachers were still affected. The effects varied, for e.g. poor performance in the classroom, fear for safety, a rethink of careers and so on. The use of ecological systems theory (helped conclude that violent behaviour from young learners was as a result of the interplay between individual, familial, school, community, and societal factors. Inter-sectoral collaboration was found to be an essential intervention strategy as a way forward. Involvement and the collaborative action of parents, community, school management, and Department of Education was outlined as a strategy to curb violence against teachers and thus, affect change with regards to the behaviour and attitude of learners towards their teachers. In addition, implementing skills training within classrooms would prove to be an effective strategy that would enable both teacher and learner to react to possible threatening situations in the appropriate manner.