Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
VAN DER MERWE, Petro. A school-based socio-emotional programme as strategy against crime and violence (2). Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2012, vol.52, n.4, pp.646-659. ISSN 2224-7912.
This article reports on a research project which surveyed the link between the teacher's emotional competency in the classroom and the learner's behaviour, by means of action research. The experiences, perceptions and attitudes of learners and educators alike about Emotional Intelligence (EI) in the classroom were researched. This research also looked at how successful EI teaching strategies could be in the prevention of disciplinary problems. Emotional Intelligence is used as an intervention strategy to try and correct learners' misbehaviour. This research is aimed at the programme's applicability within the context of the South African society. This study concentrates specifically on the acquisition of emotional skills by teachers and learners. It has the aim of determining whether emotional skills can be acquired in the complex atmosphere of a school. The main aim of this study was to implement a school based social and emotional intervention programme as a strategy to counter violence and crime in the school concerned. The challenge was to use El in classroom practices as an intervention to prevent violence and crime in the school and create a positive behaviour culture in the school. The general public is made aware of South Africa s high crime figures through the media. It is therefore clear that it is specifically here that people need to be taught EI. The study took place at a high school in Tshwane. A pre-study was undertaken to establish the ongoing problem regarding violence and crime and school management strategies. It seemed that the values of the teaching strategies, school management strategies and violence intervention strategies were at variance at the school. A starting point for the research was therefore to find ways to eliminate these discrepancies. Four teachers who taught different subjects to Grade 9 classes with significant behavioural problems were selected, and 120 learners were involved in the study. With this aim in mind the impact of classroom practices was investigated. The participating teachers therefore consciously made use of EI teaching methods in the classroom for a period of four weeks. The impact the use of EI in the classroom had on the learners'behaviour was evaluated over this period. Teaching actions in the classroom were aimed at equipping the learners with EI. Because of this the learners and teachers participating in this study were asked to complete a structured observation questionnaire. Focus group interviews, field notes and observation were additional for the collection of suitable and revealing data which made it possible to obtain information and to gain insight into it. A comparison between pre- and post-evaluation shows that the learners in all the classes experienced the teachers as being slightly more emotionally skilled in the post-evaluation. The learners' consciousness of EI in the classroom also increased. The results are promising in that the learners more readily accepted the EI of the teachers in the classroom practices. The aim of this research is to ascertain which elements ought to be part of a socio-emotional school intervention programme to prevent violence and crime in the school. This investigation proves without a doubt that EI should be the core element of such a programme. Positive discipline, democratic school management, support structures and parent and community involvement were elements identified in this study as being crucial in a socio-emotional intervention programme. The conclusion is therefore that a school based socio-emotional intervention programme can be used as a strategy to prevent violence and crime in the school. This research has taken the first step towards making school managements and teachers aware of the importance of increasing EI in learners, and that with the teaching of EI they can make a marked difference in the behaviour of the learners.
Keywords : Misbehaviour; learners; teachers; classroom practices; school violence; emotional intelligence teaching methods; acquisition of emotional skills; socio-emotional school intervention programme; positive discipline; social behaviour; interpersonal skills; action research; self-reflection; observation.