The purpose of education (schooling) is to prepare young people for their responsibilities and roles when they become adults. This is a cyclical process, which means that if the ‘adults of today’ care about the young people; these young people, who will become the adults of tomorrow, will also ‘care about young people’ when they are adults. However, numerous learners come from families that are ‘broken’, where they experience Cruelty, Insensitivity, decaying Morals, Chaotic Emotions, Self-Absorption, Insecure, Sarcasm, Uncertainty, etc. Therefore the role of teacher is to ‘put together their learners’ to have morals, be smart, have social graces, have listening skills, have controlled emotions, have feelings of security, be self confident, have a sense of humour, etc. This is especially needed where parents have never dealt with their own challenging childhood … and they mete out the same treatment that they were given as a child.
Based on the data from the ‘social profile of vulnerable groups in South Africa 2002 – 2010’ (Stats SA, 2011), the follow are known (http://www.advocacyaid.com/…/31-stats-sa-publishes-social-p…):
- The largest number of orphans (maternal, paternal and double) is found in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by the Eastern Cape;
- About 39% of children in South Africa live only with their mothers;
- Children are disproportionately affected by poverty. 51% of all people in South Africa live in poverty, whereas 62% of children live in poverty;
- There are significant racial disparities in poverty levels as well as various other vulnerability indicators;
- 18,6% of children in South Africa experienced hunger in 2010;
- in 2010, 15% of learners were exposed to violence, punishment and verbal abuse at school – the majority of which (92,6%) was through corporal punishment administered by teachers.
- The above is not displaying and/or representing a positive state of affairs regarding the relationship of adults and children in South Africa, and most of these learners bring those experiences into the schools and classrooms.
In our methodology, we empower all adults to own their roles and responsibilities, especially teachers within the teaching and learning process, and principals within the monitoring and support process, and that realise that their actions can make a huge difference in the lives of learners. Often, some learners only have them as ‘protectors’, ‘guardians’, ‘role models’, etc. It is important that they create the view of caring as (i) fostering a sense of belonging, (ii) getting to know learners personally, (iii) supporting academic success, and (iv) attending to physiological needs. From the position of teachers, they can (i) convey a sense of togetherness and unity, respect, acknowledgement, being values as a member of the classroom, and emotionally supporting learners, (ii) knowing about learner’s strengths and limitations, inside and outside the classroom, and being familiar with learner living arrangements, understanding how they are ‘living their lives’, contact with parents and being sensitive to family crises such as death in family or other types of urgent situations, (iii) verbally communicating high expectations with learners, expressing positive statements and comments to encourage learner effort, monitoring and assisting learners during learning activities, individualising learning outcomes, listening to them, and (iv) being compassionate and concerned about learners and their well-being, asking for feedback for learners, and allowing them to reflect on their own experience with care.