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Exploring teachers' conceptions of caring within teaching in the foundation phase at a school outside the greater Durban area.

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This small-scale study explored teachers’ conceptions of caring within teaching in the Foundation Phase at a combined school outside the greater Durban area. The school serviced children from the nearby squatter camps and surrounding working class community. In this study, I wanted to know how conceptions of caring were made by Foundation Phase teachers’ within the context of their work experiences. Their meaning making and their practice was important to consider. A qualitative approach was suitable for this study. The data for the study was obtained by semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews. The findings show that Foundation Phase teachers have multiple conceptions of caring within teaching. This is influenced by the context they teach in and the frames of references they use. It was evident that teachers were using frames of reference from child development in vulnerable situations, teaching and learning with lack of strong support (from the home and education department) and the futuristic image of the child in order to shape caring within teaching. Teachers position themselves as caring teachers who do culturally situated practice through forming relationships with the children. As such, they identify characteristics that are supportive and responsive to the needs of young children. Their conceptions in relation to pedagogy are supportive of the idea that they need to connect with their learners and create an inclusive environment. This, however, is challenged by circumstances which limits the type of caring that is made possible. A demanding curriculum and large class numbers are limiting the possibilities for caring acts within teaching in the Foundation Phase.


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


Theses--Education., Primary school teaching--South Africa., Theses--Education.