Teachers cultivating resilience in learners attending school in rural contexts: a narrative inquiry.
Ndlovu, Sindisiwe Maxentia.
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This study explores teachers’ stories of lived experience and their capacity for cultivating resilience in learners attending schools in rural contexts. Through the storied lives of the three teachers, Saint, Maria and Faith, I was able to develop a deeper and more insightful understanding of the everyday challenges that teachers’ who work in rural context face. I also understand the perspectives that teachers adopt to negotiate the challenges in order to open up possibilities for thinking and acting differently inside and outside of their classrooms. The methodological approach for this study is narrative inquiry, and it is located within the interpretative paradigm. The data sources were personal stories of participants. Various artsbased methods were employed for generating the data which included collage inquiry, artefact inquiry and unstructured interviews. Through these multiple data sources, I was able to reconstruct stories of the personal and professional lives of the teacher participants to respond to the research questions in my study. The study has employed the triple lens theory that combines the Broaden and Build theory, resilience as multidimensional and complex process, and the generative theory of rurality. This triple lens framework enabled me to understand rurality as a social space that is complex and dynamic; and teachers and the practices they adopt to open up possibilities to sustain their commitment and to strengthen their capacity to develop resilience in learners. The study shows the importance of personal and cultural values and routines in broadening their lives as teachers to become life-long learners and activists campaigning for a different life as men and women. As teachers, these individuals are able to adopt unique and personally meaningful approaches and methods that are contextually relevant to learners attending school in a rural context. Opening up opportunities through both curricular and extracurricular activities, they draw on particular personal and cultural knowledge to develop social, emotional and intellectual skills in learners so that they may think and act differently.