Learners’ Perceptions of the Life Orientation Curriculum in Fort Beaufort District Eastern Cape in South Africa
AbstractThe study explored how learners perceive the Life Orientation programmes. This study is a follow up on research findings which revealed that in spite that many learners felt positive about the subject Life Orientation, which to some extent supports the study conducted by Theron (2008), who found that a sample of Grade 9 township learners valued LO, some of these learners gave the impression that they engaged in risky behaviours that had been discussed in LO, a subject specifically intended to help learners face and cope with problems, and make more sensible, or at least informed, life choices. This raises the question whether learners are being adequately guided, or inadvertently misguided, in their LO lessons. The results of the study showed that in LO, in addition to quite different topics such as career choice, physical education and religion education, the learners had indeed been taught about and made aware of the consequences of social problems like falling pregnant while still at school, drug abuse and the threat of HIV/AIDS. This article represents only a part of this Masters in Education research. The study was located within the interpretivist paradigm and used a qualitative research design in the form of narratives as a strategy of enquiry. The researcher conducted six focus group discussions with learners and held interviews with six teachers and principals. The analysis of the data was done by clustering common themes and writing stories to uncover the main issues that were arising. The issues were then put together as findings for the study. Document analysis and classroom observation were also used to complement findings from the interviews. Generally, this study points to a major issue to be tackled in curriculum development, which is the incorporation of a more effective mechanism for measuring the impact of LO teaching on the learners. It seems that LO may have achieved more in the way of awareness creation in terms of imparting knowledge than it has in bringing about the behavioural changes that are expected. Therefore mere verbal feedback from learners in interviews or focus groups may not be enough to gauge how successfully the LO curriculum is implemented.
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