Collaborated understandings of context-specific psychosocial challenges facing South African school learners: a participatory approach
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South African teachers are not sufficiently equipped to address psychosocial challenges that they encounter in under-resourced contexts among learners at school, and which impact negatively on learning and teaching. In this article, we report on the first cycle of a community-based participatory action research project undertaken with teacher participants to facilitate a collaborative understanding of the contextual psychosocial challenges that learners face. The aim of the study was to equip teachers with sustainable capacity to conduct a participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) enquiry that would enhance their ability to identify and address contextual psychosocial challenges to promote wellness. Following a PALAR design, we collaborated with 10 volunteer teachers for the generation of qualitative data through relationship building activities, individual interviews, the creation of visual artefacts, and informal group discussions. Data were analysed thematically in collaboration with the community of participants. Findings suggest that the process assisted the teachers to gain a deeper understanding of learners' psychosocial challenges, encouraged a sense of group identity among coresearchers, and fostered their agency to begin to address the identified challenges and to network with community stakeholders to promote wellness among themselves and among learners.
- Faculty of Education