The chosen voices in HIV/AIDS education : an exploration of how primary school educators communicate.
MetadataShow full item record
The rapid rate, at which HIV/AIDS is being spread, is changing the face of modern society. The alarming statistics revealed by research, bears testimony to this fact. According to Bennell (2003), the total number of HIV/AIDS maternal and two-parent orphans for subSaharan Africa is expected to increase from 9.85 million in 2001 to 18.67 million in 2010. Education has a pivotal role to play in effectively dealing with the effects of the pandemic, as well as in creating awareness among learners on HIV/AIDS preventative education. The chief medium through which ideas are conveyed and awareness is raised, is through the use of language. The focus of this dissertation was to critically explore the language used by educators within the context of HIV/AIDS Education, at primary school level. This was done in two ways. The first was conducting an in-depth analysis of documents pertinent to HIV/AIDS Education, in an attempt to ascertain which themes, concepts and terms frequently feature in these various documents. The second was exploring these themes, concepts and terms with regard to how these were perceived and understood by the participants in the study. The translation of the meanings the participants attached to these concepts and terms, and how these translated into learning activities within the classroom context, received attention during classroom and lesson observations. A case-study design within the qualitative mode of inquiry was employed. Document analysis, observation and in-depth interviews were used to obtain data pertaining to the area of study. Three Life Orientation educators, from a suburban, co-educational school in the Kwa-Zulu Natal area, participated in the study. The Critical Discourse Analysis framework informed the study. The study also explored the usage of non-verbal signs and suggestions to convey meaning and understanding among learners. The participants' predispositions, ideologies and pre-conceived notions of what was appropriate, in terms of themes explored within the context of HIV/AIDS education, were also examined in light of any bearing these might have had in the process of facilitating understanding among learners. Due consideration was given to contextual factors, and how these might have influenced the processes of creating meaning and understanding among learners. The findings revealed by this research, provide valuable insights into some of the interpretations of some of the terms and concepts that are commonly associated with HIV/AIDS by educators. In addition, they present the possibility of alternate meanings of these terms and concepts, suggesting that multiple meanings are possible within the context of HIV/AIDS education. The implications of this study for classroom practice are numerous.