SA Journal of Education, Vol 43, No 3 (2023)

Reflections of South African educators on the enablement of at-risk learners with protective systems via the Read-me-to-Resilience intervention

Carmen Joubert


Resilience-promoting interventions, such as the Read-me-to-Resilience intervention strategy, that consists of culturally relevant indigenous stories has been shown to encourage resilience in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) orphans. In this study, educator participants reflected on the protective systems that the Read-me-to-Resilience stories might offer for at-risk learners within their school context. Resilience protective systems include self-regulation, attachment relationships, agency and mastery motivation systems, cultural traditions and religion, cognitive competence and meaning making. The exploration of the Read-me-to-Resilience intervention as a protective strategy was rooted in the social-ecological perspective of resilience, which focuses on positive adjustment to adversity through resilience protective systems. Fifteen South African educators were requested to implement the Read-me-to-Resilience intervention strategy within their school context. Participation in the study was voluntary. An explorative qualitative research approach was used. Three unstructured focus-group interviews were conducted, and research diaries were kept by the participants. The educator participants reported that the indigenous African stories had promoted problem-solving and leadership skills, personal positive strengths and attachment relationships and had stimulated renewed appreciation for resources within the traditional African culture. Relevant literature on protective systems for resilience development supports my research findings. It is proposed that culturally relevant stories, as an inexpensive strategy, should be utilised within the school community to promote adaptive and preventive protective systems for at-risk learners.

ORCiD iD of author:
Carmen Joubert -

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