Teacher preparedness in dealing with learners' social problems
The purpose of the study was to investigate how teachers dealt with learners’ social problems. Another concern of the study was to investigate the extent to which pre-service and in-service teacher-training prepared teachers to deal with learners’ social problems. The research used qualitative methodology. The major advantage of using qualitative research was that it focused on researching teachers in their school setting, to determine how teachers dealt with learners’ social problems. The main instrument used was interviews as it yielded rich in-depth knowledge and allowed me to probe responses and investigate the teachers’ feelings and emotions. A purposive sampling technique was used to select the respondents. The study population was confined to four public high schools in Cape Town. It was composed of three newly qualified teachers and one experienced teacher. The results reflected that teachers dealt with learners’ social problems by trial and error and there was no evidence of deliberate planning in identifying learners with social problems. The preservice teacher training programmes did not equip teachers with the skills to deal with learners’ social problems. Although teachers received some form of training at schools, the training was not effective in assisting them. The thesis argues that social problems cannot be dealt with solely by the school or the teacher. It is recommended that the Department of Education, the community and the parents, as well as other social service organisations, should jointly create preventive and intervention strategies to assist learners with social problems. Such a holistic approach, the study asserts, could assist schools and teachers to deal with learners’ social problems more effectively. Teachers should receive pre-service training to deal with learners’ social problems, for example, by adding a module such as Sociology of Education. The teachertraining programmes and continuous in-service training programmes should ensure that teachers are exposed to current Departmental policies and documents that can assist them in dealing with learners’ social problems.