The life-world of truants : guidelines for the educational psychologist
- Authors: Smith, Phillip Alexander
- Date: 2012-08-30
- Subjects: School attendance - Psychological aspects. , School phobia. , Education, Compulsory. , Educational psychology - Research. , Truancy
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:3432 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/6828
- Description: M.Ed. , Truancy, which according to Thompson and Rudolph (1992:513), is a deliberate absence from school without a valid reason, is a problem that probably dates back to the initial institution of large scale formal schooling. Although it may seem obvious that the reason for truancy is related to the fact that the truant prefers to be elsewhere, or that he finds the school an unpleasant place to be, the underlying reasons for truancy are more difficult to pinpoint. Research conducted in 1991 and 1992 in the United Kingdom (O'Keefe, 1994:48), and which included 150 schools, revealed that a significant number of pupils of compulsory school—going age become involved in truancy. Statistics reported by the research team themselves, based on a survey which involved questionnaires, suggested that if the results of their survey could be extrapolated to all schools, then a 95 per cent confidence interval for the mean truancy level in schools, is between 29.7 per cent and 32.4 per cent. About two thirds (68%), of all schools should have truancy levels between 22.7 per cent and 39.3 per cent, and 96 per cent of all schools should have levels between 14.4 per cent and 47.4 per cent. If these statistics could be used as a guide to estimate an average of truants per school, the enormity of the prevalence of truancy becomes evident. According to McWhirter and McWhirter (1993:58), truants tend to have what is termed a "dropouts perspective". They claim that dropouts inter alia tend to leave school for the following reasons: * a dislike for school, with the opinion that school is boring and not relevant to their needs * low academic achievement and poor grades * poverty, a desire to work full-time, and a need for money, and * a lack of belonging and a sense that nobody cares about them Some of these attributes might thus also obtain for many truants. Paterson (Wardaugh, 1990: 744), proposes two broad categories of truants, namely the "endangered" truant (also termed the delinquent or morally endangered truant), and the "fearful" truant (also termed the school phobic or abused truant). The "endangered" truant is prone to falling into trouble when absent from school, while the "fearful" truant wishes to go to school, but is afraid to do so. Truancy is also listed by Kapp (1990:119) as one of the behaviours manifested by juvenile delinquents along with various other delinquencies such as theft, running away from home, use and distribution of drugs, burglary, vandalism, assault and robbery, thus suggesting that truancy is associated with these misdemeanours. Healy (Tyerman, 1968:10), notes that truancy is the root of all these misbehaviours, and he described truancy as "the kindergarten of crime". In 1944 Burt (1944:455) already referred to truancy as "the first step on the downward stair to crime". According to Hersov and Berg (1980:67), truancy is a reliable predictor of difficulties in later life. They also report that school truancy significantly predicts four subsequent child events: being held back in elementary school, dropping out of high school,leaving the parental home before the age of 18, and marriage before the age of 18. Thus, it would appear that the prognosis for truants in terms of completing their schooling, securing stable employment and fulfilling responsible citizenship, without being a burden to their future spouses, families, communities and the state, is rather uncertain. Against this background, there can be little argument that the phenomenon of truancy is serious enough to warrant a counseling programme that will be effective in treating truants in the light of their problems in such a way that they will obtain a balanced perspective of the value of regular school attendance. In South Africa, the incidence of truancy, in the old racially biased provincial education schooling system of the House of Assembly (HOA), could be measured quite accurately, simply by consulting the class register over a period of time. Through investigating the circumstances surrounding the absenteeism the teacher could quite easily determine whether such circumstances met the criteria for classification of such absentees as truants. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the schools which were under the jurisdiction of the former Department of Education and Training (DET), of which the researcher was an employee for a number of years. Not only were records of attendance not kept properly in many instances to be able to determine how often a pupil was absent, but even if attendance records had been kept properly, the possible reasons for staying away from school, such as political violence, intimidation, and caring for younger siblings, do also not meet the criteria for classifying such an absentee as a truant. What is however also true, is that large numbers of former DET pupils could have exploited the prevailing situation at the time and could have stayed away from school for reasons that may well have qualified them as truants. Many schools served by the former House of Delegates (HOD), and the former House of Representatives (HOR), were, maybe, just as seriously affected by the political climate as the DET schools. The level of absenteeism related to unrest situations in the former HOD and HOR schools makes it just as difficult to distinguish between the "truants" and the "bona fide" absentees during those turbulent times. For this reason it was decided to restrict the scope of the present study to truants in schools which traditionally fell under the provincial education system of the former House of Assembly.
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Truancy in black schools : the role of peers
- Authors: Khoza, Nelisiwe Cynthia
- Date: 2014-03-27
- Subjects: Dropouts , Blacks - School education, Secondary - South Africa - Psychological aspects. , School attendance - Psychological aspects. , Motivation in education , Community and school - South Africa
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:4526 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/9863
- Description: M.Ed. (Educational Guidance) , Truancy is a grave problem because truants are wasting their opportunities and are in danger of not becoming productive members of society. Teachers, parents, peers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other important people (see Chapter 5) can play a decisive role in preventing truancy. The literature study states that peer group pressure is one of the main causes of truancy (see Chapter 2) . An empirical research study has been done at Mamelodi high schools. Certain criteria were followed in order to identify truants (see Appendix B). Chapter 4 shows clearly the results of the research project. The significant findings are as follows : more truants are among std 9 than std 8 more truants than non-truants have failed three times or more more truants than non-truants expect to obtain lower marks in the coming examination ; more friends of truants than those of non- truants expect them to obtain lower marks in the coming examination ; truants have less friends than non-truants who are at school ; truants have less friends than those of non-truants who think they are good in their school work.
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