Teachers' influence on the value-orientation of learners in secondary schools
Lepholletse, Augusta Maria Maphuti
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This research discusses key concepts like values, education, character, character education, teachers and learners, behaviour, and secondary schools. The effective and meaningful teaching of values and character education is central when one attempts to equip adolescent learners with sufficient knowledge, appropriate skills and positive values for them to achieve good involvement in their different societies globally. According to Mwamwenda (1995) effective teachers are those who engage in designing lessons, utilising appropriate teaching strategies and implementing techniques to optimise learning for learners. Teaching is a dynamic process that involves teachers and learners in meaningful and collaborative efforts. The interaction that occurs in the classroom is of vital importance for the enhancement of the teaching and learning process. Therefore, it is generally accepted that the effectiveness of teaching depends to a large extent on the motivation of both the teacher and the learners (Bangeni, 2000:24). The main purpose of this study is to determine the teacher's influence on the value orientation of learners in secondary schools. The study was conducted in secondary schools in the Potchefstroom area. Questionnaires were compiled to investigate teachers' influence on the value orientation of learners in secondary schools. A total of 740 grades 8 and 11 learners were randomly selected from 13 schools. All the teachers in the participating schools were involved in this study. The analysis of the data shows that teachers, although generally warm and accepting, seem to be inflexible and lack dynamism when presenting their lessons. This results in disciplinary problems in the classroom. Making lessons interesting, calls for creativity and flexibility on the teacher's part. It also calls for teachers to be informed about the experiences, knowledge, developmental levels, needs and preferences of learners. According to Lindique (1996:154) the affective and emotional development goes hand in hand with cognitive development. Therefore, catering for the interests of learners could contribute to this development (Bangeni, 2000:58). The empirical research reveals that teachers do not apply the principles of trustworthiness and fairness towards learners, and as such trust is not developed. It is therefore crucial for teachers to make an effort to create trust and fairness towards learners. In addition to this, teachers are not role models with regards to industriousness and in displaying correct behaviour towards learners. The result is that the main aim of disciplining learners in classroom fails. According to Bestes (1987:162) the teacher is entrusted with various duties in the classroom. As the supportive and motivating adult, the teacher is the main figure. Everything that is done and said in the classroom is an instrument or tool of encouragement or defeat. Downey and Kelly (1978:137) supports the above statement that both the matter and the manner of every teacher's moral code, in other words its content and its form, will be communicated to his or her learners through all the contact with them, and will contribute to their moral development for better or worse. Therefore, moral commitment is a distinct attitudinal component that plays a role in the individual's internalisation of organisational values (Moloi, 2002:80). Insufficient implementation of promising practices for character education in classrooms can also lead to indiscipline in schools. When the promising practices for character education are effectively implemented, they will contribute towards managing learners' behaviour in the classrooms and schools. Learners will in turn tend to possess a strong sense of personal efficacy and responsibility to do what is expected from them. They also help learners to develop positive interpersonal relationships and a strong character. This study also focuses on theories of the moral development of learners. According to the findings, teachers do not to have knowledge of these theories. Knowledge of these theories will enable teachers to be conversant with factors that influence the effectiveness of individual learners' character and to understand the dynamics they have to contend with, in order to encourage their learners towards efficient and effective behaviour and good character. There is a general lack of co-operation between teachers and learners as well as a lack of respect and discipline that prevails in the classrooms. This study shows that teachers are presently not doing enough to influence the values and character of learners.
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