The Role of Teachers in Managing Teaching and Learning of Street Children

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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Introduction

In the previous chapters an overview of this study and a review of the related literature were provided. In this chapter I reconfigure the entire research process in order to reflect on the perspectives that justify the methods that I used for data collection as well as data analysis. This chapter therefore devotes an extensive attention to the justification of idiosyncratic affiliation that connects the theoretical background of this study to the specific philosophical paradigm that informs the relevant research methodologies of this study. In order to achieve this, chapter 3 of this study provides an overview of the formal research design that I used in this study and research design and strategies that were deemed suitable for this study. This chapter also addresses the aspects of the research population, data collection strategies, sampling method, and data collection process and data analysis. The chapter concludes by addressing aspects related to trustworthiness and credibility of the study. The ethical consideration observed in this study is also discussed in this chapter.

Key Words: street children, teaching and learning, School Management Teams, management 

Methodological Assumptions

The first and most important assumption for this study is that the SMTs and teachers possess a thorough understanding of issues related to the management of the teaching and learning of street children in schools that cater for street children. Therefore, this study intended to utilise empirical methods embedded in qualitative studies to acquire data from the teachers and SMTs to collect data that would be useful in making findings. The second assumption is that the teachers and SMTs in schools with street children are able to adapt their teaching strategies to cater for the educational needs of street children. Therefore, using the interviews, observation and document analysis, the researcher intended to explore the use of teaching strategies to address the educational needs of street children. Gravetter and Forzano (2009) argue that, although two people may be involved in the same phenomenon of study, their understanding of the same phenomenon may be different hence , through interviews, the researcher intended to engage different participants based on their understanding of how the teaching and learning of street children is managed, particularly in the absence of legislation and policy. In this regard, due diligence was taken to enhance the credibility of the study by having a sample that was adequately representative of the phenomenon to be studied. The third assumption relates to data collection methods, particularly document analysis. In the previous chapter the advantages of document analysis were mentioned, and these include the ease with which the researcher is able to access information that could not be accessed through other means. However, the documents also may have some disadvantages, such as the fact that the information contained in them may not be complete, may be absolute or may simply be irrelevant. In this study the researcher, therefore, made an assumption that the documents to be used in this study contained updated and relevant and information that could be used to verify the observation data or data from interviews to increase the trustworthiness of this study.
The fourth and the last assumption relates to the time frame set for this study. Action research, contrary to experimental research which may require repetition of the same experiment for an extended period, at various times and under various conditions, is about finding a solution to a particular practical problem situation in a specific, applied setting (Welman & Kruger, 2001). According to Domegan and Fleming (2007), qualitative research aims to explore and to discover issues about the problem at hand, since very little is known about the phenomenon. Therefore, the assumption in this study is that during the specific time and setting at which this study was conducted, all the internal and external factors were effectively managed to yield valid and reliable findings without the need for repetition while, at the same time, the findings were replicable in other similar situations. An overview of the assumptions made in this study aligns this study with the interpretivist philosophical paradigm. Myers (2009) believes that the interpretivist approach relies heavily on observation and the interpretation of data about the phenomenon being studied. Reeves and Hedberg (2003), on the other hand, concur that the interpretive paradigm is concerned with understanding the world as it is from the subjective experiences of individuals being studied.

Qualitative Research Approach

According to Creswell (2003), qualitative approaches serve as links to the subjective nature of social reality and provide insights from the perspective of the participants; and this then enables the researcher to see events in the same way in which the participants do. A qualitative approach is, therefore, based on the premise that individuals are best placed to describe situations and perceptions in their own words. Myers (2009) asserts that a qualitative approach is a strategy of inquiry which moves from underlying assumptions to research design and data collection. This means that in qualitative studies researchers are able to move from the philosophical assumptions, which may be positivist, interpretive or critical postmodernist in nature, to the actual data collection. While, on one the hand, quantitative approaches were originally developed in the natural sciences to study natural phenomena, qualitative approaches, on the other hand, enable the researcher to study social and cultural phenomena (Myers, 2009). As such, the teaching and learning of street children is a social phenomenon which can best be studied through a qualitative approach. Thomas (2010) points out that through a qualitative approach, the researcher is able to gather the narrative description of the group behaviours in their natural setting. In studying the management of the teaching and learning of street children, a qualitative approach is the most appropriate for understanding and interacting with the participants and gaining insight into their perceptions. According to Thomas (2010), it can be argued that although both qualitative and quantitative approaches are often used in education, teaching and learning can best be understood through a qualitative approach based on its ability to produce narrative descriptions of the phenomenon. Using the qualitative approach, this study was able to present a descriptive narration in words about how SMTs go about managing the teaching and learning of street children in schools that cater for street children and, thus, answered the research question of this study.

Interpretive Paradigm

Henning, Van Rensburg and Smit (2004) regard an interpretivist paradigm as the strategy through which a phenomenon of interest and the events associated with it are understood through the mental process of interpretation, which is influenced by the interaction of the participants in a particular social context. Therefore, the interpretive paradigm is concerned with understanding the phenomenon through the experiences of the participant and their own world. Myers (2009) states that the interpretive research paradigm is fundamentally concerned with meaning and that it seeks to understand social members’ definition and understanding of situations. Willis (2007) adds that an interpretivist researcher usually seeks to understand a particular context, and the core belief of the interpretive paradigm is that reality is socially constructed. Therefore, an interpretive researcher uses oriented methodologies such as interviews, document analysis and observation, among other methods that rely on subjective relationship between the researcher and the participants involved in the study. Teaching and learning takes place within a social context and teachers and learners approach this interaction with a certain measure of own beliefs systems, morals and values of the society (Thomas, 2010). Linder and Cantrell (2001) found that the interpretivist paradigm can be successfully used where the researcher wants to understand and interpret students’ and teachers’ perspectives on the factors that could impact on the successful use of teaching and learning strategies.
According to Cantrell (2001), the researcher in qualitative studies attempts to discover how people make sense of their social world in the natural setting by means of empirical data collection methods, such as interviews, document analysis and observation. Henning et al. (2004) also state that the striking features of the methodology applied in qualitative research are participation, collaboration and engagement. In this study the researcher intended to explore the influence of legislation and policies on the teaching and learning of street children and to develop a conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of street children using an interpretive paradigm.
The ontological assumption in an interpretivist paradigm is that there are different and multiple versions of reality of the phenomenon understudy and does not subscribe to the belief in one objective reality (Flick, 2014). There exist multiple or even conflicting versions reality of a particular issue or problem depending on the context in which the participants are in. My epistemological stance is that in this study I believed that it is the teachers and the SMTs that can shade light on the reality of managing the teaching and learning of street children. While doing this study, I was under the assumption that knowledge construction in interpretivist paradigm is as a result of the interaction between the researcher and the participant. Despite my own reasoning for interpretivist paradigm there are researchers who have criticized the ontology and epistemology that underpins interpretivism.

Cover page
Declaration
Ethical Certificate 
Dedication 
Acknowledgements 
Abstract 
Editor’s Letter 
List of Abbreviations and Acronyms 
List of Tables and Figures
CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background and Context of the Study
1.3 Street Children
1.4 Teaching and Learning of Street Children
1.5 Perspectives of Legislative and Policy Framework
1.6 Research Problem
1.7 Rationale
1.8 Research Question, sub-Questions and objectives
1.9 Research Methodology .
1. 10. Significance of the Study
1.11 Outline of the Chapters .
1.12 Summary of the Chapter .
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ON THE PHENOMENON OF STREET CHILDREN
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Vulnerable Groups of Children
2.3 Global and Local Organisations Supporting Street Children
2.4 Causes of the Street Children Phenomenon
2.5 Identifying Street Children
2.6 Categories of Street Children
2.7 Educational Needs of Street Children
2.8 Challenges and Problems Experienced by Street Children
2.9 Teaching and Learning of Street Children
2.10 The Role of Teachers in Managing Teaching and Learning of Street Children
2.11 Legislation and Policy Framework on Teaching and Learning
2.12 Conceptual Ideologies about Teaching and Learning of Street Children
2.13 Critical Findings in the Literature Review
2.14 Gaps in the Literature on Street Children
2.15 Theoretical Framework
2.16 Summary of the Chapter
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Methodological Assumptions
3.3 Qualitative Research Approach
3.4 Interpretive Paradigm
3.5 Case Study Research Design
3.6 Data Collection Methods
3.7 Sampling
3.8 Data Analysis
3.9 Trustworthiness of the Study
3.10 Ethical Considerations
3.11 Summary of the Chapter
CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA
4.1Introduction
4.2 The Profile of Schools That Participated in the Study
4.3 Demographics of the Participants
4.4 Themes and Sub-Themes from Data Analysis
4.5 Summary of the Chapter
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.1Introduction
5.2 Research Aim and Questions
5.3 Discussion of Research Findings
5.4 Contribution of the Study
5.5 Summary of the Chapter
CHAPTER 6: SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS,CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1Introduction
6.2 Summary of the Research Findings .
6.3 Limitations of the Study
6.4 Delimitations of the Study
6.5 Suggestions for Future Research
6.6 Conclusion
6.7 Recommendations
Bibliography
Annexures

PHILOSOPHIAE DOCTOR Faculty of Education

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