Original Research

The importance of Life Orientation in a time of COVID-19: Perceptions of preservice teachers

Aletta E. Botha, Julialet Rens, Sarina de Jager
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 18, No 1 | a1202 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v18i1.1202 | © 2022 Aletta E. Botha, Julialet Rens, Sarina de Jager | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 January 2022 | Published: 30 May 2022

About the author(s)

Aletta E. Botha, School of Psycho-Social Education, Faculty of Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Julialet Rens, School of Psycho-Social Education, Faculty of Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Sarina de Jager, Department of Humanities Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This research explored the challenges experienced by society during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the role thereof in the validation of Life Orientation in South African schools. The importance of Life Orientation as a subject has been questioned since its implementation in 2006. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that the skills and values taught in Life Orientation were actually needed to survive the mental and emotional impacts of the pandemic. The aim of this study was to explore the preservice teachers’ perceptions of Life Orientation, the importance of this subject and the knowledge, skills and values that are taught in Life Orientation and how these can equip society during the pandemic. The research followed a qualitative design in an interpretivist paradigm. Data were collected through an online questionnaire that preservice teachers had to complete. A group of 102 first-year Bachelor of Education students, 18 fourth-year Bachelor of Education students and 20 students in the Postgraduate Certificate in Education programme were involved in the study. Preliminary data revealed that COVID-19 challenges had a possible impact on the attitudes of 140 preservice teachers towards Life Orientation as a compulsory subject in South Africa and further concluded that Life Orientation plays a significant role in preparing learners for various challenges faced by society, not least the COVID-19 pandemic.


Keywords

validation; Life Orientation; COVID-19 challenges; preservice teachers; South African schools

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