Drivers of Learner Aggression in Selected Schools in the Amathole District Municipality in South Africa




aggressive behaviour, teachers, learners, schools, school violence


In the pursuit of an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning, schools are universally regarded as sanctuaries of nonviolence for all stakeholders. However, the South African education landscape has witnessed a distressing trend as schools have increasingly transformed into arenas of criminal activity and violence. Against this background, the present study sought to explore the drivers of learner aggression in selected schools situated in the Amathole District Municipality. The study followed a phenomenological research design that enabled the researchers to explore the lived experiences of the participants and unearth insights into learner aggression. Using a purposive sampling technique, twenty-five participants were purposively selected from five separate schools and data were collected using semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal that the overarching influence of violent communities and dysfunctional family structures and teacher favouritism, particularly directed towards academically proficient students, were drivers of aggressive behaviour. Among others, the study recommends the urgent need for teacher training programmes that focus on dealing with learner aggression. By equipping teachers with enhanced tools to discern, prevent, and effectively respond to instances of learner aggression, the education system can foster an atmosphere of safety and inclusivity.


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Author Biography

Bonginkosi Hardy Mutongoza, University of Fort Hare

Bonginkosi Hardy Mutongoza is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. He has published book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on education management, violence in education, gender-based violence, and educational inequalities in South Africa.


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How to Cite

Hendricks, Eleanor Alvira, and Bonginkosi Hardy Mutongoza. 2024. “Drivers of Learner Aggression in Selected Schools in the Amathole District Municipality in South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 36 (1):19 pages.



Received 2023-06-21
Accepted 2023-11-02
Published 2024-02-20