Original Research

Positive behaviour support in South African Foundation Phase classrooms: Teacher reflections

Veronica M. Dwarika
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 9, No 1 | a761 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.761 | © 2019 Veronica M. Dwarika | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2019 | Published: 15 October 2019

About the author(s)

Veronica M. Dwarika, Department of Education Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: The positive behaviour support (PBS) model is a model of response to address challenging behaviours of learners in schools that has proven to be effective in developed countries. Given its human rights and functional contextualism lens, the PBS model is particularly relevant to and of value within the South African context.

Aim: Since learner challenging behaviours are a key contributory factor to learner exclusion in schools, an inclusive education module on the PBS model was developed and evaluated for its effectiveness in the South African context.

Setting: The study is set within an interpretivist paradigm and utilises a generic qualitative research design.

Methods: Qualitative data were collected through module evaluations – 11 focus group interviews with 144 candidates (4th-year in-service Limpopo teachers) followed by four classroom observations and interviews with the teachers from the classroom observations.

Results: The thematic analysis revealed that participants had developed new insights about ecosystemic challenges that impact behaviour and were critically reflexive about their changed practices resulting from their participation in the inclusive education PBS model. Participants valued PBS strategies as good and useful for excellence in teaching. This evidences a pocket of success in relation to the value of the PBS model.

Conclusion: The professional development of pre-service teachers with the skills and knowledge of the PBS model for classroom practice is advocated for. Recommendations are made for further research.


inclusion; bioecological; teacher education; positive behaviour support model; PBS; foundation phase teacher


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