A confluence of liminality in a rural learner transitioning to boarding school in South Africa
Taryn Bennett, Sarita Ramsaroop and Nadine Petersen
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Many rural children in South Africa are subjected to social isolation, poor quality schooling and other related challenges, which impacts their growth and development and access to post-school educational opportunities. Well-functioning boarding schools offer a solution but research in South Africa is still in its infancy. Using the theoretical frame of liminality, in a qualitative case study, the authors explore the influence of a well-functioning boarding school on the social and academic development of a socio-economically disadvantaged rural male learner. Data from interviews, observations, progress reports and open-ended questionnaires were analysed using content analysis procedures and interpreted for evidence of possible shifts, tensions, and challenges. The findings confirm that while the young man benefitted both academically and socially, the confluence of liminal spaces in his transition from a rural background to boarding school, resulted in ongoing tensions that prolonged his state of liminality. We discuss the consequences for the learner and our roles as researchers and engage with the implications for this type of research for development agents both in South Africa and internationally.
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|Authors: Ms Taryn Bennett is an assistant lecturer in the department of Childhood Education at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Her research interests include history education, social science education and rural education in South Africa.|
Dr Sarita Ramsaroop (corresponding author) is the head of department of Childhood Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg. Her research interests include teacher education, specifically in strengthening school-university partnerships and social science education for the primary school.
Professor Nadine Petersen is the vice-dean, Teaching and Learning, in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg. Her research interests include student teacher learning and social justice-oriented service learning in teacher education.
Please cite as: Bennett, T., Ramsaroop, S. & Petersen, N. (2021). A confluence of liminality in a rural learner transitioning to boarding school in South Africa. Issues in Educational Research, 31(2), 404-420. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/bennett.pdf