In South Africa, First World and Third World elements exist side by side, representing different social, economic and political realities. The current educational dispensation advocates the exposure of members of various cultures to one another at school. This study focuses on the quality of accommodation and possible accompanying problems and the degree of belonging expel1enced by black learners attending traditionally white schools. Differences between the cultural ol1entation, socio-economic situation and histol1co-political background of black learners, as opposed to the orientation of the schools they attend, could hinder their adjustment to these schools. Additional influencing factors could be these learners, expectations of the self, school and society, as well as a possible educational backlog. This study endeavoured to research and describe black learners’ life-worlds, especially their experience of the multicultural school environment in traditionally white schools. The aim of the empiI1cal research was to identify any specific educational and underlying emotional needs that could arise from hailing from a different cultural background. This aim was realised firstly by undertaking a theoretical investigation focusing on the literature on the subject, and secondly by an empirical investigation in two phases into val1ous aspects of black Grade Nine learners’ life-worlds. In the theoretical investigation, which served as a basis for the empirical study, an attempt was made to research the cultural and home situation of Grade Nine black learners. The discussion of problems that these learners could encounter within traditionally white schools was based on an eighteen-theme ” culture-general framework” applied to the South African school situation. The empirical research involved visits to a sample of eight traditionally white schools in Gauteng. Qualitative and quantitative methods were combined in a two-phase research design. In the quantitative phase, a questionnaire directed at the learners was applied to a sample of 332 learners. The questionnaire gathered biographical information, and data on the family, individual and school/cultural dimensions to identify stumbling blocks to and facilitating elements in the process of accommodation in these schools. The qualitative phase consisted of pal1icipating data collection techniques, namely sixteen semi-structured focus interviews with eight selected learners and eight teachers, one learner and one teacher from each of the eight participating schools. The interviews concentrated on the learners’ and teachers’ feelings regarding the same dimensions addressed by the questionnaire. The combination of these two procedures allowed a holistic and more in-depth picture of the nature of the learners’ experiences and needs at school to emerge. The validity of the eventual conclusions was heightened by the process of triangulation between the theoretical, qualitative and quantitative findings. Racism was identified as a prominent stumbling block, and effective accommodation strategies were lacking at schools. Learners displayed definite emotional and social needs within the school situation. On the other hand, several facilitating elements are already present in these schools and could be developed further. This challenging situation is addressed by means of various guidelines aiming to improve the quality of accommodation within schools. Suggestions for future research are also made.
|Degree Type||Doctoral degree|