Educational Psychology & Special Needs Education

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    Anxiety associated with the use of technology among teachers in Lesotho
    (University of Zululand, 2016) Tlaba, David Tlaba; Sibaya, P.T. and Sibaya, D.C.
    The purpose of this study is to investigate anxiety associated with the use of technology among teachers in Lesotho. The sample consists of 100 high school teachers from various schools located in the Maseru district. To meet the objectives, a questionnaire was designed, which collected data on teachers’ anxieties towards technology in relation to demographic variables. The findings of the study suggest that the educators do differ in their anxiety levels in relation to technology, and that there is no correlation between age and anxiety. The relationship between the variable of gender and anxiety is revealed. Furthermore, teaching experience is found to have a significant effect on anxiety, while nationality is found to have no effect on anxiety.
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    Impact of Obesity on Learner Academic Performance in Rural Secondary Schools in Vhembe District
    (2022) Thenga Nwakwana Emily
    The emerging scourge of overweight and obesity are attributed to the consumption of high energy-dense foods, poor nutrition, lifestyle transition and little physical activity which cause serious developmental health problems, psychological complications and cognitive dysfunction. These debilitating challenges consequently affect children’s growth and development and result in academic under-achievement. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of obesity on learner academic performance in rural secondary schools in Mvudi circuit of Vhembe district. This study used Convergent Parallel Mixed Method Design in collecting data through questionnaires and in-depth face-to-face interviews and observations. Simple random sampling procedure was used to select 125 school learners and purposive sampling was used to select 5 teachers and 5 learners from the five rural secondary schools in Mvudi circuit of Vhembe district, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The study findings established that obesity has the capability to directly impair the physiological, psycho-social and economic dimensions of learners which exert an impact on academic performance. Overall, variables such as nutrition, gender, physical inactivity, industrialisation, sedentary lifestyle and bullying negatively affect academic performance. Government sectors, teachers, parents and learners should work together in addressing the challenges caused by obesity as it exerts an adverse impact on the academic attainment of learners.
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    The influence of biographical characteristics on emotional concerns of new first-year students at the University of Zululand
    (2023) Masondo, Hlengiwe Qinisekile
    For students, transitioning from high school to university is a challenging period which in most cases brings about emotional concerns and mental health challenges. Such students not only have to grapple with stress related to academic load, but also have to take on more adult-like responsibilities without having yet mastered the skills and cognitive maturity of adulthood. This study investigates whether there is any influence of biographical factors on the emotional concerns of New First Year Students at University of Zululand It focuses on age, gender and sex as the biographical factors. A quantitative method was used and data was collected from 82 participants. Pearson’s product moment correlation was used to measure the relationship between demographic traits of New First Year Students and the emotional concerns while an independent student’s T test was performed to test for differences between sexes. This research identified areas of concern regarding their emotional challenges which align with previous studies discussed in the review of similar studies at other universities. Areas of emotional concern, according to the current study were identified as belonging emotions, positive affectivity, negative affectivity and pathological emotions. From the correlation analysis, the study revealed that age of the New First Year Students (NFYS) was not related to the three emotional constructs of negative affectivity, pathological and belonging. Nonetheless, there was statistically significant but very weak negative correlation between age and positive affectivity. The conclusion reached was that positive affectivity decreased with increase in the age of the NFYS even though it has a weak relationship. The 18-19 years old NFYS had higher ratings for positive affectivity emotions while the older than 19 years has lower positive affectivity emotions. The study also confirmed the nonexistence of any relationship between social economic status, and the emotional concerns of NFYS. An independent student ‘s t test analysis also confirmed there was no significant statistical difference in the emotional concerns between male and female NFYS. Finally, the results indicated that strong, positive and significant correlation existed between different emotional constructs. Pathological emotions were positively and strongly correlated with negative affectivity. Pathological emotions were also positively correlated with positive affectivity. Lastly, belonging emotions were positively, though weakly correlated with positive affectivity.
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    Exploring parental influence on the academic performance of learners in the intermediate phase in Zululand district
    (2023) Mdlovu, Nomthandazo Patience
    Parental care plays a key role in every sphere of the child’s life, and more so when the child becomes a learner. However, it is not obvious that parents view their support to their children throughout their academic life to be of critical importance as they may assume that it is the school’s responsibility, especially educators. The challenge of lack of parental support is common throughout South Africa especially in the rural areas where literacy levels are relatively lower than in urban settings. Zululand district has for many years experienced poor learner performance, which could be attributed to the lack of parental involvement in learners’ academic affairs. The purpose of the current study was to explore the influence of parental involvement in the academic performance of learners, with specific reference to those in the intermediate phase in Zululand district. The study adopted a mixed method approach using a survey and in-depth interviews. An interview guide and a questionnaire were used to gather data from two samples of four (n=4) participants and 250 respondents for the qualitative and quantitative componets, respectively. The study findings revealed that despite educators providing homework to learners, parental availability to support the learner to do their homework was very minimal. The study also revealed that despite parental support by providing study rules and study rooms as well as providing some form of control on times to watch television, parents denied the responsibility for the poor performance of their children yet they did not even visit their children’s schools to understand what prevails there. It was also interesting to note that literacy on the part of parents helped to enhance the parents’ desire to support their children towards improving their academic performance. Drawing from these findings, the researcher recommended the need for regular school meetings, preferably two parents’ meetings per term to promote parent –school involvement and collaboration. The researcher also recommended the provision of evening classes for parents to improve their literacy levels so that they can support their children when they do school work. Despite revealing such findings and making critical recommendations, this study’s findings cannot be generalised to all communities, hence the need to conduct a similar study in some other rural districts such as uMkhanyakude district and King Cetshwayo within the KwaZulu-Natal province to obtain a balanced view of parental involvement in children’s school work. The recommendation may help to mitigate the problem of declining pass rates in schools across the province and the nation at large.
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    Exploring the challenges facing high schoolteachers and principals in implementing guidance and counselling in Manzini region, Eswatini
    (University of Zululand, 2022-12) Mkhonta, Gugu Precious Sacolo
    Guidance and Counselling (GC) services are part of a broader system designed to enhance success in all learners. This study aimed at investigating the challenges facing principals and teachers in implementing Guidance and Counselling at high schools in Manzini region, Eswatini. The study sought to identify challenges and suggest possible solutions to such challenges to enhance the learners’ performance. The literature depicted that Guidance and Counselling services are crucial to the success of lifelong learning policies, providing assistance and advice to learners so that they make informed and future educational choices suitable for them. Through GC, students develop holistically by taking into account the psychosocial, intellectual, emotional and physical aspects with their environment. The study adopted mixed methods approach with pragmatic paradigm. Target population was eighty eight principals (88) and one thousand five hundred and eighty four teachers (1584) under Manzini region. The sample was selected from Mankayane cluster which have eighteen (18) schools which consists of 18(fifteen) principals and two hundred and seventy (270) teachers. Comprehensive purposive sampling was used to ensure that participants have wider experiences on the subject. Thus the sample involved ten (10) schools with ten (principals) and twenty (20) teachers. For quantitative design, questionnaires were self-administered to Guidance Counsellors and principals. In qualitative design, face- to - face interviews were conducted to teachers. The study underpinned Bandura social learning theory. A pilot study was conducted to test validity and reliability of instruments. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and content thematic analysis. The results revealed numerous challenges in the provision of Guidance and Counselling services. These include: lack of time, inadequate facilities and resources, insufficient training for personnel and other challenges. Recommendations were the hiring of full time guidance counsellors and providing necessary facilities for such services. In addition, regular follow-ups were recommended to monitor and evaluate the programme to ensure that all high schools implement Guidance and Counselling efficiently and effectively.
University of Zululand