This study investigated the way in which educators identified and managed the needs of the orphaned learners they encountered in their situation as educators in a school setting. The sample in the study consisted of a total of 12-orphaned learners and 8 educators from one primary and one secondary school in the rural part of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. Data on how orphaned learners viewed their situation were collected using draw-and-write strategy and observation followed by in-depth interviews and follow-up interview questions. The aim of interviewing the orphans themselves was to explore their own views of the realities of their lived experiences of orphanhood and their expectations of the world around them. Data on how educators identified and responded to the needs of the orphaned learners were collected using in-depth interviews and follow up interview questions. The experiences of the orphaned learners interviewed indicate a need for social and emotional support besides the obvious material need. Two distinct identities (among the educators themselves) emerged from the interviews with these educators: <ul><li>There were educators who responded positively by providing support to the orphaned learners.</li> <li>And there were educators who responded by referring the orphaned learners to the educators who help orphaned learners.</ul> The findings of the study revealed that internal motivational factors had a strong influence on the choices these educators made in responding to the needs of the orphans; and lack of knowledge and skills in identifying and responding to the orphans’ emotional needs could have a negative impact on educator response. The findings also showed that the level of interaction and involvement in a relationship with the orphans determined the way the educators identified and responded to these orphans’ needs. The study suggest the need for training educators to be in a position to provide care and build relationships, as a means of helping fulfill the social and emotional needs of these learners.
Thesis (PhD (Education Management, Law and Policy))--University of Pretoria, 2008.