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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


DU PLESSIS, Andre  and  CAIN, Gerard. Exploring perceived sources of conflict among educators in three Eastern Cape schools. Journal of Education [online]. 2017, n.70, pp.1-23. ISSN 2520-9868.

Conflict is part of organisations and manifests between people in various contexts, including in schools. The purpose of this exploratory intrinsic qualitative interpretive case study was to explore the causes of conflict among teachers in three primary schools residing in previously disadvantaged social contexts, as previous studies have not explored these perceived causes among primary school teachers and neither have these studies been able to frame the causes by means of a conceptual nor Bourdieuan lens. Exploring conflict as tensions are important as it has the potential to result in dysfunctional conflict that negatively impact on the teachers, learners and learning. Purposive sampling was used and fifty-nine educators participated from three primary schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Qualitative data was gathered using semi-structured individual interviews, focus group interviews and an open-ended questionnaire. The six categories of the conflict cube of Bradshaw were used to indicate the six main themes, namely relationship conflicts, value conflicts, data conflicts, structural conflicts, interest conflicts and needs-based conflict. The categories associated with each of the main themes are presented as sub-sets by utilising the categorisation properties of a conflict cube. A Bourdieuan lens has also been utilised to interpret the data. The findings suggest that principals, School Management Teams (SMTs) and educators have to be made aware what causes conflict within the field to enable all role players to be more cognisant of these issues in order to become more proactive in their day-to-day interactions within the school context. It is proposed the visual participatory methodologies are explored as tools to assist with the drafting of policies.

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