Die invloed van 'n avontuurgerigte ervaringsleerprogram op die persoonlike funksionering van swart hoërskoolleerlinge
Louw, Pieter Johannes
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Adventure based experiential learning programmes (AEPs) are certainly nothing new (Louw et al., 2007). Its inception can be traced back as far as Plato after which it was revised as a result of the contributions of Kurt Hahn, the German educationalist and organisations such as Outward Bound (Hattie et al., 1997). The positive contribution to personal- and life effectiveness as a result of participation in AEPs and which adventure enthusiasts have laid claim to, has been in existence since the start of Outward Bound in 1942 (Neill, 2000:3). Witt and Crompton (1996) further emphasised value of AEPs by stating that they are internationally recognised as a scientific method that assist in developing the life effectiveness of adolescents and adults. One of the most critical challenges for adventure based experiential learning organisations in the 21st century is the development of applicable AEPs for less privileged groups, according to Neill and Flory (2000a). High school pupils in this day and age pose much bigger challenges to educational institutions. They are more diverse in terms of age, race, socio-economic status, culture, sex, stability, attitudes and values (Upcraft, 1993). To adhere to the above mentioned challenges Kimball and Bacon (1993) recommend AEPs that take place in nature as this serves as a therapy for the gaps in the current educational- and community systems. The purpose of this study was to obtain scientific information regarding the contribution of an adventure based experiential learning program (AEP1) to the improvement of the life- and personal effectiveness of black high school pupils, specifically in light of the current transformation- and empowerment processes. Black high school students were specifically used in this study because no results regarding their participation in AEPs have been found in South Africa. The results of this study will deliver important scientific information regarding this topic, especially in light of the current focus on transformation and empowerment. The test subject consisted of an experimental- (20 boys and 20 girls) and a control group (20 boys and 20 girls) aged between twelve and seventeen years with an average age of 14.5. The experimental group participated in a five day AEP in the Vredefort Dome in the North West province. The study is conducted in the form of a quantitative pre-test post-test design (Thomas & Nelson, 1996:321-322). The questionnaires were administered before, directly after and six months after the initial evaluation to determine the immediate and long term effect thereof. To measure life effectiveness, use was made of the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ-H) (Neill et al., 1997:6) with a Cronbach Alpha-value of between 0.78 and 0.93 to measure the development of life effectiveness of the group. The instrument focuses on psychological and behavioural aspects that are key components of life effectiveness. The LEQ-H consists of 24 questions and assesses the following dimensions: achievement motivation, active initiative, emotional control, intellectual flexibility, self confidence, social competence, task leadership and time management. The results yielded an overall intra-group effect size of d= 0.03 in the short term and a negative effect size of d=-0.03 in the long term. The inter-group results, however, yielded an overall small effect size of d=0.35 in the short term and a medium effect size of d=0.49 in the long term. The overall results obtained indicate that an AEP had a significant intergroup short- and long term effect on the life effectiveness of black high school pupils but it did not have a significant intra-group effect. The hypothesis regarding the positive, immediate and long term effect of the AEP on the life effectiveness of black high school pupils was thus rejected. Albeit that the life effectiveness of black high school pupils did not necessarily improve as a result of the AEP, it is important to note that the socio-economic environment as well as the family structures of the participants seems to have had an impact on the outcome of the study. Furthermore, the fact that the questionnaires were not in their home language, could also have impacted on the results. To measure personal effectiveness, use was made of the Review of Personal effectiveness and Locus of Control (ROPELOC) with a Cronbach Alpha-value of between 0.79 and 0.93 (Richards et al., 2002:1-4). The ROPELOC consists of 45 questions and is made up of six major components with sub-constructs namely personal abilities and beliefs (self-confidence, self-efficacy, stress management, open thinking), social abilities (social effectiveness, cooperative teamwork, leadership ability), organisational skills (time management, quality seeking, coping with change) active. The difference can be determined with regard to the main components as well as the underlying subcomponents. The results yielded an overall small intra-group effect size of d=0.28 in the short term and a small effect size of d=0.42 in the long term. The inter-group results yielded an overall medium effect size of d=0.54 in the short term and a large effect size of d=0.87 in the long term. The overall results obtained indicate that an AEP had a significant short- and long term effect on the personal effectiveness of black high school pupils. The hypothesis regarding the positive, immediate and long term effect of the AEP on the personal effectiveness of black high school pupils was thus accepted. It is thus recommended that AEPs be utilized to improve personal effectiveness of black high school pupils in South Africa.
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