Identifying resilient and non-resilient middle-adolescents in a formerly black-only urban school

  • Ruth Mampane
  • Cecilia Bouwer
Keywords: non-resilience, resilience, screening instrument


The aim in this study was to develop a way of identifying resilient and non- resilient middle adolescents in a formerly black-only urban residential (township) school, in order to ultimately support the development of learners' resilience under stressful circumstances. A Resilience Scale was developed to screen for resilient and non-resilient learners by means of s elf evaluation. A Learning Behaviour Scale was developed to examine the ability of the teachers to reliably recognise learners' resilient and non-resilient academic and social behaviours. As a control, in-depth interviews were conducted, to evaluate the construct validity of results on the two scales qualitatively and to identify themes signifying resilience and non-resilience in the coping behaviour of middle-adolescents in a township school. The participants were 190 learners in Grade 8 and 9 who all completed the Resilience Scale, 12 learners selected on the bas is of the ir Resilience Scale scores who were interviewed, and eight curricular teachers who completed the Learning Behaviour Scale in respect o f the 12 s elected learners. All the items of the Resilience Scale proved statistically reliable. However, the interview data profile differed from the Resilience Scale profile in the lower range, suggesting that the scale failed to reliably reflect non-resilience in the context of a formerly black-only urban school. The results on the Learning Behaviour Scale differed from both learner-based data sets, suggesting that the teachers were wholly unable to identify resilience and non-resilience in their learners.

South African Journal of Education Vol. 26(3) 2006: 443–456

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100