Teachers' constructions of school-based care and support for learners in a place of safety.
Nene, Nompumelelo Virgina.
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Care and support of learners, particularly, orphaned and other vulnerable children, is a major call for schools and this is evident in the education policies and conceptual frameworks nationally and internationally. This study explores the teachers’ constructions of school-based care and support for vulnerable learners in a Place of Safety. The objectives of this study were: to explore the teachers’ constructions of school-based care for learners in a place of safety and the school-based strategies to improve care and support for learners in the place of safety. A qualitative research design and interpretive approach were adopted to conduct this study. The study also employed the strength-based approach to achieve the objectives of the study. The purposive and convenient sampling were also chosen in order to get rich and accurate data from the participants. The study used two data generative qualitative methods namely: collage and focus group interview to generate data for this study. The findings that emerged from the study showed that teachers in the Place of Safety were aware that they were dealing with vulnerable learners and the degree of the vulnerability among learners. The data identified that teachers acted as advocate to the learners; engaged the OVC learners in collaborative learning; providing spiritual support to the OVC learners and helping the OVC learners to build their self-esteem. The findings further revealed that the teachers were aware of the improved supporting strategies that include providing most nutritious food to the learners with nutritional; applying multi-cultural approach to teaching; developing the learners on entrepreneurship skill and as well as providing recreational resources. Though inclusive education reforms have been initiated, there is even a greater need for the Department of Education to provide on-going and in-service training for teachers in relation to providing care and support for learners in a Place of Safety.