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An exploration of the insight of foundation phase educators in education resilience in a South African public primary school.

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This qualitative interpretative study used a case study approach to explore the depth of insight foundation phase educators in a public primary school in KwaZulu-Natal had about learners’ educational resilience, especially those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The study design was underpinned by a theoretical framework that integrated concepts of Ecological and Resiliency Theory and was aimed at answering two research questions; • Do foundation phase educators recognize and understand educational resilience? • Do foundation phase educators enhance educational resilience in learners they consider to be ‘at-risk’ of academic failure? A purposive sample of three Grade 3 educators completed qualitative open-ended questionnaires before participating in a focus group discussion on educational resilience. Reliability and validity was ensured through triangulation of data collection methods; member checking of data verified its accuracy. Classroom observations yielded information about educator instructional style; demographic details and language literacy results of six educator-identified resilient and non-resilient learners provided corroborative data. Findings were analyzed and collated into common themes which revealed that foundation phase educators’ insight about resilience was superficial. Educators were able to identify non-resilient learners but failed to be responsive in their teaching methods. Lack of parental support was considered by educators to be a significant factor in the difference in resilience between learners who experienced the same socioeconomic disadvantage. Educators acknowledged their lack of formal training in the concept of educational resilience. The study concluded that the need for foundation phase educators to deepen their insight level about educational resilience does exist and recommends that pre-and in-service resilience education is included in the professional development of foundation phase educators in South Africa. Limitations of the study were noted.


Thesis (M.Ed.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal,Durban, 2010.


Theses--Education., Primary school teachers--KwaZulu-Natal., Learning ability.