Exploring Group Life Design with teachers in the context of poverty related psychosocial challenges

  • Rubina Setlhare
  • Lesley Wood
  • Lukas Meyer
Keywords: Group Life Design, poverty, psychosocial challenges, South Africa, teacher efficacy


Working in challenging contexts can impact negatively on a teacher’s sense of purpose and efficacy. This article explores the potential of group Life Design (LD), a narrative constructivist career counselling process, for supporting ten South African school teachers working at an under-resourced school with understanding their career aspirations and their personal and professional identity. The group LD process formed part of a participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) project. This article focuses on teachers’ experience of the group LD process. Participating teachers reflected in writing and during group discussions on their experience of the LD process. Qualitative data generated from transcriptions of their discussions and written reflections were thematically coded. Findings suggest that the group LD process encouraged participants to reflect on themes from their life narratives to encourage agency for pursuing their future personal and professional goals. Through the LD process, the teachers acknowledged personal and professional assets, from past and present narratives which could motivate them during challenging times. The LD process ignited agency for action to achieve career and personal goals. Participants designed future life maps and also explored pathways for collectively improving their support to learners.

Keywords: Group Life Design; poverty; psychosocial challenges; South Africa; teacher efficacy


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100