n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - What are the essential characteristics of caring schools? A teacher / learner perspective




According to the South African Department of Education's White Paper 6 (Trisano Working Document 1996:11), teachers have a special responsibility "to ensure that all learners, with and without disabilities, pursue their learning potential to the fullest". This poses a very distinct challenge to teachers, who need to cope with the diverse demands that come their way, such as school violence, disciplinary problems and uncooperative parents. It indirectly raises the question as to how the requirements of the White Paper 6 will be realised in practice.

Bach and Torbet (1982:52-55), Schaps (2005:53), and Solomon, Battistich, Watson, Schaps and Lewis (in Osher and Fleischman 2005:84) provide a possible answer to the problem in stating that self-realization is only possible through caring for others, thereby implying that schools need to be transformed into "caring" schools in order to be better able to actualise learners' full potential.
Based on a qualitative research study undertaken at eight primary South African schools, this article documents learners and teachers perspectives as they relate to "caring" and "caring" schools. It is suggested that these perspectives can serve as source of reference and a guideline in the formulation of strategies directed to transforming schools into "caring" schools.


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