The aim of the research was to generate a way of identifying resilient and non-resilient middle-adolescent learners in Grade 8 and 9, in a South African township secondary school. The theoretical frameworks on resilience, the developmental context and middle-adolescence were explored and two questionnaires were developed using the literature reviews and the theoretical frameworks. A Resilience Scale was developed to identify resilient and non-resilient learners in a township school, in terms of self-evaluation. A Learning Behaviour Scale was developed to determine the ability of teachers to identify learners’ resilient and non-resilient (academic and social) behaviours. In-depth interviews were conducted to identify themes of resilience and non-resilience in the coping behaviour of adolescents in township schools, and to evaluate the credibility and dependability of the Resilience and Learning Behaviour Scales. The Grade 8 and 9 learners of the school were targeted for the research, since they are within the middle-adolescent age range (14-16 years). The participants were 190 Grade 8 and 9 learners, who all completed the Resilience Scale. In-depth interviews were conducted with twelve learners (in three groups of four according to their Resilience Scale scores, that is, highest, lowest and those grouped most closely around the mean). The curricular teachers were requested to complete the Learning Behaviour scale for the selected interviewees. Although all the items of the Resilience Scale proved statistically reliable, the scale appeared not to reliably identify resilient and non-resilient learners, as judged by the interview data, which indicated ten to be resilient and two to be non-resilient. The interview data were used to determine the resilience status of each learner according to the Resilience Process Models of Kumpfer and Boyd and Eckert. Interviews were found to be the most reliable research tool to identify the resilience and non-resilience status of the participants. The Learning Behaviour Scale yielded strongly inconsistent results and thus failed to identify resilient and non-resilient learners.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.