Learners’ experiences of teachers’ aggression in a secondary school in Gauteng, South Africa

Aneshree Naicker, Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Method: The population consisted of school learners at a secondary school. Inclusion criteria for sampling were that participants should be grade 11 and 12 learners, between 16 and 18 years of age and should have experienced aggression from teachers in the school. A purposive sample was taken of learners who complied with the inclusion criteria. Data were collected by means of four in-depth phenomenological interviews, 88 naïve sketches, observation and field notes. One central question was posed to the secondary school learners: ‘What are your experiences of teacher aggression toward you in your schooling environment?’ Open coding was used for data analysis. Measures to ensure trustworthiness were applied to ensure the rigour of the research. Ethical principles were adhered to throughout the research process.

Results: The secondary school learners were belittled, as well as emotionally and verbally abused. They also experienced fear and anger. Guidelines were derived from these findings for learners and teachers.

Conclusion: This research found that learners experience aggression in their school environment and need support to facilitate their mental health.

Background: Research shows that one third of all persons in South Africa have been exposed to one or more types of aggression. It has been observed that learners frequently experience aggression from teachers in the secondary school environment, which has a negative effect on their experience of general wellbeing and mental health.

Objectives: The objectives set for this research were to explore and describe learners’ experiences regarding teachers’ aggression toward them and to formulate guidelines for learners and teachers to facilitate their mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number#793
JournalHealth SA Gesondheid
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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