The role of the peer educators in enhancing social and emotional learning: a case of foursecondary schools in Fort Beaufort district

by Nyarayi Chinyama

Institution: University of Fort Hare
Department: Education
Degree: M.
Year: 0
Keywords: Schools – South Africa – Eastern Cape – Social conditions; Peer teaching – Education, Secondary – South Africa – Eastern Cape.; Learning, Psychology of; School management and organization – South Africa – Eastern Cape.; Teachers – South Africa – Eastern Cape; Education and state – South Africa – Eastern Cape.; Fort Beaufort (South Africa)
Record ID: 1418293
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10353/d1006257


The aim of this study was to explore how peer education is enhancing social-emotional learning in four secondary schools in Fort Beaufort Education District. An empirical investigation using the qualitative approach examined the situation of the peer education clubs at the four schools. Data was gathered using interviews, focus groups, observations and document analysis. The purpose of the study was to examine the role of peer education programmes in enhancing social and emotional learning in schools. In this research study specifically the qualitative research approach was used. The study also adopted a purposive sampling procedure which is acceptable for special sampling situations where the researcher applied her own experience to select cases which form part of the participants. Four schools were selected, four principals, four teachers who work with peer education clubs, four focus groups, one HIV/AIDS district coordinator, and one peer group trainer. It emerged from the analysis of the collected data that peer education clubs in Fort Beaufort have a number of challenges facing them, resulting in them making insignificant contributions towards the enhancing of social-emotional learning. The clubs’ efforts have resulted in little positive behavioural change among the youth. Among the challenges revealed are: lack of proper structures and support from school administrators, poor selection of peer educators, lack of time and facilities in which to carry out their work, lack of adequate training for both teachers and peer educators. Teacher interference was also cited regularly at all four schools, thereby defeating the whole idea of peer education. The study also revealed that peer educators in Fort Beaufort are not receiving adequate support from other stakeholders like, the police, the justice department and social welfare. Another critical observation made during the study was that peer education clubs are lacking clear standards of practice, rigour and sustainability, all which should be addressed in order to enhance social-emotional learning in schools. Data was analysed using a thematic content analysis. The analysis was carried out in a manner that related to the research questions and objectives in the study. A transcript was made from the respondents’ answers. Reflection and coding was done and data was categorised as an important learning tool in schools, and to recognise its contribution to social emotional learning. The study concluded that peer education clubs in schools, despite their huge potential to improve both behaviour and academic results, are not being given a conducive environment to operate in or the necessary support. This effectively means that learners with some behavioural problems and who have the potential to reform are also being denied the opportunity to lead better lives. The Department is advised to increase the number of both peer education trainers and trained peer educators. Furthermore the training period of peer educators should be increased from the current five days. There…