Original Research

Patterns of a culture of aggression amongst Grade 10 learners in a secondary school in the Sedibeng District, South Africa

Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel, Lovia Nhlapo
Curationis | Vol 38, No 1 | a1233 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v38i1.1233 | © 2015 Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel, Lovia Nhlapo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 October 2013 | Published: 27 March 2015

About the author(s)

Chris Myburgh, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Lovia Nhlapo, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: A number of reports to the Department of Education indicated high levels of aggression in a Grade 10 A class in a secondary school in Sedibeng District, Gauteng. Teachers, the school management team, school governing body, school-based support team, parents, community leaders and learners seemed unable to manage this constructively. Neither the culture of aggression nor the influence of this phenomenon on those entrapped in it were understood. No published research reports could be found on cultures of aggression in South African secondary schools. There was therefore a dire need to explore and describe the culture of aggression in this specific Grade 10 A class.

Objectives: This article reports on patterns of a culture of aggression observed amongst learners in a Grade 10 class in a secondary school in the Sedibeng District of the Gauteng Department of Education.

Method: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was followed with an ethnographic approach. Purposive sampling was used to select participants. Data consisted of observations of ‘rich points’, interviews and field notes, and thematic data analysis and an independent coder were used.

Results: Findings reflected four patterns of a culture of aggression amongst learners, namely patterns of anger, bullying, fighting, and challenges to moral values. At the root of these were neglect of and non-adherence to human rights and a sound base of morals.

Conclusion: The challenge is to assist the involved learners to respect each other’s human dignity, so that relationships can be developed in which those involved act with sensitivity towards each other’s needs. Such relationships often also result in the development of self-respect and a nuanced future orientation as part and parcel of mental health.


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