Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
FERREIRA, Ronél; EBERSOHN, Liesel and MCCALLAGHAN, Malize. The use of body maps by educators in fulfilling their pastoral role. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2010, vol.50, n.2, pp. 197-215. ISSN 0041-4751.
This article reports on the findings of a qualitative study that investigated the potential use of the body map technique by educators in fulfilling their pastoral role. The study formed part of a broad research project - the STAR intervention. As part of the broader project, the study we report on was undertaken in parallel with another study in the same community, focusing on the relationship between memory work and counselling skills. The study reported on in this article was anchored in the constructivist-interpretivist paradigm and underpinned by action research principles. It rested on an instrumental case study research design. It was conducted at a primary school located in an informal settlement community in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Ten female educators of the school participated in the project. After acquiring baseline information during the first field visit, an intervention was deployed during which the techniques of body mapping and memory box making were introduced to the participants. The participants were requested to apply the two techniques as part of a research assignment, between the first and a second, follow-up field visit. During the second field visit, the participants' experiences in applying the two techniques were investigated. Focus group discussions, observation, field notes, research journals and visual techniques (photographs and maps) were utilized as data collection and documentation techniques. Baseline information indicated that the educators were fairly clear about the theoretical nature of the pastoral role, but that they did not know how to practically fulfil the role during daily classroom activities, at the onset of the study. After the second field visit, based on the research assignment that had been completed by the educators, two main themes emerged. Firstly, the participants indicated that they would be able to implement the body map technique in the classroom successfully, and that they regarded the technique as useful for fulfilling their pastoral role within the school context. This theme was refined into sub-themes dealing with potential modes of implementation, suitable contexts for application and possible outcomes following the application of the body map technique in the classroom. The second main theme indicated practical considerations when using the body map technique in the classroom context, as part of the pastoral role of educators. The sub-themes of this theme relate to using the body map technique as part of the general school curricula, to alternative uses and application modes of the technique within a classroom context, and to pastoral responsibilities that could be facilitated (or not) when using the technique. Based on the findings we obtained we can conclude that educators can utilize the body map technique in fulfilling their pastoral role. Even though the participants in our study possessed some basic knowledge on the tasks and skills required of educators in fulfilling their pastoral role, they initially indicated the challenge of not knowing how to apply their knowledge in a practical manner in the classroom. The use of the body map technique reportedly exposed them to one possible way of fulfilling their pastoral role, as the manner in which they employed the technique during the research assignment enabled them to get to know the learners on a deeper level. In addition, they were encouraged to communicate their willingness to listen to the needs of the learners in their classrooms. They perceived themselves to be in a better position to integrate their pastoral role with the other roles of educators, when implementing the body map technique in support of children in need of assistance. Finally, after applying the body map technique the educators who participated in our study experienced their relationships with learners as being more positive. They were seemingly motivated to support the learners in their classrooms emotionally when the need arose to do so. This motivation to fulfil the pastoral role confirms the educators' willingness to strive towards obtaining the objectives as stipulated in policy documents, such as the requirement to fulfil a pastoral role.
Keywords : Informal settlement; constructivist-interpretivist paradigm; vulnerable children; body map; body mapping technique; memory box technique; memory work; pastoral role of educators; South African education policies.