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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


KALAM, Aziza et al. Exploring educator's perceptions of the challenges affecting grade one learners' academic performance in two low socio-economic schools. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2016, vol.46, n.2, pp.59-64. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: This research study arose out of the perceived poor performance of learners from low socio-economic areas in the Western Cape. To investigate the cause of the poor performance the researchers explored educators' perceptions of some of the challenges that could affect the academic performance of grade one learners. METHOD: A qualitative study was used to explore the educators' perceptions. Six grade one educators, from two schools located in a low socio-economic area were selected through purposeful sampling and consented to participate in two focus group discussions. One of these educators dropped out prior to the commencement of the study. The transcribed data were coded, the codes were reduced to categories and from the categories themes were developed. FINDINGS: Three themes emerged from the data analysis: "Learners can't cope", "Socio-economic environment does play a role" and "The system is still a problem for the child". By using the Person Environment Occupation (PEO) model, to interpret the data; the findings revealed that the educators experienced that the learners' environments as well as their individual characteristics, had a negative impact on the grade one learners' occupational performance in the classroom. CONCLUSION: Occupational therapists therefore cannot just offer individual therapy for learners but need to consider their contexts too when planning intervention.

Keywords : Academic challenges; curriculum; grade one learners; low socio-economic schools; occupational performance.

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