Exploring an alternative partnership for managing problematic behaviour among learners in secondary schools in Chatsworth.
The research focused on an alternative partnership as an intervention strategy with regard to addressing problematic learner behaviour within the broader system and takes into account that there are practitioners who are experts with specialized knowledge and pooling of such resources would lessen the burden on those currently involved. The current position is that when a learner is considered to be presenting with challenging behaviour, the policies and referral procedures of the Department of Education deem it necessary that the learner is referred to the Department of Social Development, which is mandated to provide statutory services to children up to age 18years. The research strategy focused on the challenges in the current partnership between the respective departments through the collection of data from educators and social workers. A review of policies and procedures that address problematic behaviour among children under the age of 18 years was also undertaken with the objective of identifying gaps and challenges posed in their implementation when addressing learner behaviour. While the research focused on the partnership between the Department of Social Development and the Department of Education in the management of learner behaviour, an alternative partnership was implemented as part of an „action research‟ project and which includes other Departments, Non Governmental Organizations and Community Based Organizations thereby adopting a holistic approach in addressing problematic learner behaviour. Critical Systems Thinking and its metamethodology of Critical Systems Practice, utilizing Soft Systems Methodology as the dominant method of data collection, influence it. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Educators from five schools and focus group discussions held with Social Services Practitioners to identify an effective partnership while engaging in continuous learning. An analysis of the responses revealed that the notion of a community of practice prevailing within the Department of Social Development can be extended to include other Social Workers who are experts in their respective fields of service, other professionals and Educators, all of whom have the common goal of uplifting humanity. The research, based on a core competence partnership approach, revealed that it is possible to implement the Integrated Service Delivery Model to the problem situation giving effect to its purposes, one of which is to develop and empower vulnerable groups in society, in this instance, learners at secondary schools as well as their parents thereby regenerating sound morals and values.