Educators’ roles in developing adolescent HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes within school culture
This paper reports on part of a study with the aim of exploring how Muslim learners’ knowledge and attitudes of HIV/AIDS were influenced by family and school culture. Findings from data collected during individual semi-structured interviews with the principals, Life Orientation educators, and school guidance counsellors are discussed. Reviewed literature supported the assumption that there were collaborative relationships within school culture that permitted children to learn about sexuality and HIV/ AIDS. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and the Eight Gateways or “entry points” of school culture supported the data collection and reinforced the findings theoretically. A purposive sample was used for the qualitative case study within an interpretivist paradigm. The study indicated that the educators believed that the school should teach adolescents’ about HIV/AIDS. The aim of the school was to create awareness about non-risky behaviour in terms of HIV/AIDS among the learners. Educators were aware that this education did not always lead to positive behaviour changes. The school interventions had generally engendered positive values and dependable, safe relationships that helped adolescents to make responsible decisions in the face of HIV and AIDS. Educators did concede that despite the education at school, learners had to sometimes make difficult decisions as they were tempted to behave against the principles and education within the macro-society.
Keywords: adolescents; AIDS; attitudes; HIV; entry points; knowledge; school culture; Social Cognitive Theory