The purpose of this study was to explore an asset-based intervention with educators in enhancing their knowledge of HIV&AIDS and their skills in supporting community members in coping with the challenges associated with HIV&AIDS. The goals of the study were firstly to explore and describe the ways in which educators are currently supporting community members infected with and affected by HIV&AIDS (more specifically in terms of coping with the learners in their classrooms and the caregivers or parents of these children). Secondly, the study focused on identifying the areas related to supporting community members in coping with the challenges associated with HIV&AIDS in which the participants (educators) felt that they needed more skills or information. Thirdly, I developed and facilitated an asset-based intervention, in the format of a workshop, with the participants (educators) to address the identified competence limitations. Fourthly, I assessed the outcome of the asset-based intervention in terms of the degree to which it fulfilled the participants’ need to be better equipped to support community members infected with and affected by HIV&AIDS. The primary working assumption with which I approached this study was that educators do possess the necessary competencies to support their communities in coping with the challenges presented by HIV&AIDS. I followed a qualitative research approach and selected a case study research design, applying some participatory action research principles, with the case being an informal settlement community situated in the Eastern Cape. Four participants were selected by means of convenience sampling to participate in face-to-face interviews, upon which four areas of support in which participants experienced a lack of sufficient competencies could be identified based on analysis. These areas related to referral of infected individuals; coping with infected learners in a classroom as well as ways in which educators might support community members on both an emotional and physical level. These four areas were addressed during an asset-based intervention with ten educators, which I facilitated during a follow-up field visit. During interviews the educators also indicated that they wanted to support their community (both learners and parents) to cope with the challenges presented by HIV&AIDS but that they felt inadequate in supporting the community, despite their efforts. After completion of the asset-based intervention, I facilitated a focus group discussion, focusing on whether or not the asset-based intervention had addressed participants’ (perceived) lack of competencies in supporting the community to cope within the context of HIV&AIDS. Two sub-themes emerged. Firstly, participating educators reported that they experienced increased levels of self-confidence in their ability to support their community in the context of HIV&AIDS, as well as a general feeling of empowerment, as a result of attending the asset-based intervention. The second sub-theme relates to the potential snowball effect of the asset-based intervention, whereby participating educators indicated that their role in the community had expanded and that they reportedly could transmit the knowledge obtained during the asset-based intervention sessions to others.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.