Teachers’ lived experiences of school violence: a phenomenological case study

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Windvoël, Simphiwe
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University of the Free State
School violence is becoming a global scourge and teachers seem to be helpless in tackling the challenging violent behaviour of learners in classrooms. Teachers are expected to apply alternatives to corporal punishment, even as violence increases, making these attempts at discipline futile. This study explored teachers’ lived experiences of school violence at one high school in the Xhariep District of the Free State province. The aim of the study was to make positive contributions to the creation of safe and healthy school environments for teachers by formulating new coping and intervention strategies that can help curb school violence, thus aiding teachers and managers with tools to manage school violence. The study adopted a qualitative research approach with a phenomenological case study research design to describe how school violence related to the lived experiences of teachers. A purposive sample of eight teachers from one high school participated in the study. Data were collected through semi-structured and face-to-face audio-recorded interviews. The data were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis as outlined by Braune and Clarke (2012) to identify themes and sub-themes. Findings from the study show that school violence remains a concern in South African schools. Teachers experience school violence in various forms, and it is detrimental to their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It has significant implications for teachers’ professional motivation, satisfaction, job retention and efficacy. Teachers resorted to different strategies to deal with violence, such as reporting and campaigning against school violence; peer communication; self-check and avoidance; temporary removal of learners from school; motivation and coping training skills; and recreational activities, taking time-off, and medication. However, none of these coping strategies were adequate by itself, so teachers recommended multiple intervention strategies to assist teachers, including debriefing sessions and mentoring; parental involvement; counselling and psychological support; support from school stakeholders; conflict management training and workshops; and amendment of policies and laws.
Dissertation (M.Ed.(Psychology of Education))--University of the Free State, 2023
Coping strategies, intervention strategies, phenomenological case study, school violence, teachers