Teachers' implicit mental models of learners' cognitive and moral development with reference to the inclusion of learners in the governing bodies of schools.
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This study set out to investigate teachers' mental models of learners' cognitive and moral development, with reference to the inclusion of learners in the governing bodies of schools. Strauss' (1996), concept of implicit mental models is used as a basis for the investigation of teachers' beliefs about learners' cognitive and moral development. The study made use of Piaget's stages of concrete and formal operation thinking because learners in the governing bodies of schools fall within that part of the continuum, and Stages 5 and 6 of Kohlberg's theory of moral development. The research was in the form of a survey. Teachers were interviewed using a tape-recorder and the responses were later transcribed. The schools in which research was carried out were in Imbali in Pietermaritzburg, and the focus was on the learners in Grade 8 and higher. Teachers who were interviewed were either on the governing bodies of their schools, or who had experience with the learners in Grade 8 and higher. The findings of the research were of significance. Strauss (1996) found that teachers' beliefs about learners do not coincide with the explicit theories. This study coincided with Strauss' research findings in as far as Kohlberg's theory is concerned and the opposite occurs in as far as Piaget's theory is concerned. Most respondents (eleven out of fifteen) said higher grade learners question things that they do not understand. The researcher made use of the response to argue that learners can do well in the governing bodies of schools because they have the ability to question things that they do not understand despite the low regard that teachers have about learners' moral development.