Teachers' attitudes and (low achieving) learners' engagement in learning.

Buys, Estelle Priscilla
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Education has undergone much change in post-apartheid South Africa. New school policies and curricula are some of the changes that have impacted education in significant ways. An important consequence of all this is that classrooms have become more racially mixed and/or culturally diverse. Teachers have also had to adjust to the changes in their classrooms not only in pedagogic terms, but also in terms of perceptions of learners and more importantly, their attitudes towards learners. The study was conducted at three Co Ed schools in the Gauteng South district. The schools are all situated in Eldorado Park. The aim of the research was to investigate ways in which teachers’ attitudes, as perceived by learners, affect learners’ engagement in their own learning. A case study methodology within the qualitative paradigm was employed. Data was collected through learner focus group interviews. The main research question was: In what pedagogical ways, as perceived by high and low achieving learners, do teachers transmit attitudes of care, trust and expectations to learners. The findings indicated that there are differences in learners’ perceptions and experiences of teachers’ pedagogical ways, particularly with regard to low achieving learners. Moreover, the low achieving learners had significantly different, mainly negative, experiences of pedagogical ways. The study concluded that in order for learning to be facilitated, certain pedagogical means/ways are required to transmit attitudes of care, trust and expectations. This study suggests that there is room for further research in this field.
Engaged pedagogy, Pedagogical ways, Pedagogic dialogue, Attitudinal quality