School truancy: Poor school attenders’ perceptions of the impact regarding dysfunctional teacher-learner relationships on truant behaviour
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
College of Education, University of South Africa, South Africa
The aim of this paper was to explore truants’ perceptions of the impact of teacher’s behaviour and attitudes on their school attendance. An in-depth literature study of the latest research on truancy uncovered that past truancy research focussed predominantly on the influence of home and community related influences in causing school truant behaviour. Three hundred eighth grade learners in the Metro East Education District (MEED) in the Western Cape, South Africa, participated in a survey measuring learners’ perceptions of the effects teacher-learner relationship on school and lesson attendance. The research findings suggest that respondents perceive unfavourable school experiences including being rejected, discriminated against by teachers and subjection to undue and humiliating punitive measures as significant grounds for their deliberate absence from lessons and ultimately dropping out of school. In presenting the research findings, it is argued that teachers often overlook the effects their class room conduct and attitudes may have on learners’ sense of belonging in school, learner school attendance and how learners view them. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that education authorities take account of the research findings of dysfunctional learner-teacher relationships in combatting school truancy. © 2014, Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research. All rights reserved.