South African Journal of Education

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Social isolation: a learning obstacle in the primary school

G. Bester, R.S. Budhal, R.S. Budhal


The teaching methodology of Outcomes-based Education is mainly based on group work. For this reason it would be extremely difficult for social isolates to benefit from Outcomes-based Education because of their inability to form relationships or work together with others in groups. In the light of this obstacle the aim of the research was to determine the relationship between social isolation and academic achievement at primary school level and to determine which factors relate to social isolation in general. A sample of 180 primary school learners from three primary schools was used in the investigation. Academic achievement, loneliness, self-esteem, psychological wellbeing, perceived physical ability and physical attractiveness were measured. As much as 29%of the variance in academic achievement can be explained by social isolation making it an important variable when academic achievement is predicted at primary school level. Negative correlations were found between social isolation and all the other variables, especially self-esteem (r = -0.81; p < 0.01). The implications of the findings for possible intervention are discussed.

(South African Journal of Education: 2001 21(4): 330-335)

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