Guidelines for educators/carers

Dr Nokhanyo Mayaba (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) telling Rm2R stories to her participants

Dr Nokhanyo Mayaba (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) telling Rm2R stories to her participants


Extracted from: Mayaba, N.N. (2012). Exploring the use of folktales to enhance the resilience of children orphaned and rendered vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. Unpublished dissertation, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

  • Teachers need to select folktales that have positive messages. Such stories can influence learners to respond positively to the challenges they are facing in life.
  • Telling stories and asking children to write about how the story relates to their own lives can help you as a teacher to learn details of the adversities they face which you might not have been aware of. In other words, you can use the draw and write/tell approach to encourage learners to express their own emotions.
  • Teachers can use the story of Instant Poison to teach children that they have a purpose in life, therefore by believing in their personal strengths, they can reach their destinies. Children can learn that Instant Poison’s beliefs in her own abilities led her to save her own community. Her personal qualities of problem solving, perseverance, confidence, intelligence and clear thinking which are resilience enhancing factors (Kumpfer, 1999), are reflected well in this story.
  • The story of The silver tree can be used to teach values such as care, love, support, a sense of community and hope. Teachers can encourage children through this story not to give up in spite of the challenges they might find themselves in.
  • Teachers can teach the significance of social networks that can enable people to help one another in times of need through the stories of Bhuzane, the bee and Mankepe, the singer. You can start by building relationships amongst the learners by emphasizing love, trust and collaboration through these stories. This could be one way of addressing stigma and discrimination that some of the OVC experience in schools.
  • You can use a collage as a strategy to explore issues which children may struggle to express verbally. A collage can serve as a catalyst for them to think and do.
  • Drama is another strategy that you could use with the children, but you must first teach them the elements that are important in presenting a scene or dramatizing a story. The preparation stage of the drama enables children to work together, make decisions, plan, use language and enable them to be creative. After they have presented their drama, you could facilitate a discussion by finding out why they chose certain characters for their scenes and this may help you to understand how the characters in the stories make the children feel. Discussing the story enhances their literacy skills. Listening and speaking are keys to language development (Gibbons, 2002).
  • You can enhance their positive sense of self by encouraging the children to tell you their own strengths in relation to the characters in the story.
  • You can show them through the stories how they do not exist in isolation from the bigger community and how the characters in the stories had to rely on other people for their success in life.
  • Give children more opportunities to write during the process of using the draw and write, collage and drama teaching strategies. As they are writing allow them to write in both their home language and an additional language.

The term OVC refers to any child whose level of vulnerability has increased as a result of HIV and AIDS and could include children under the age of 18 years who fall into one or more of the following categories: have experienced the loss of one or both parents; are neglected, destitute, abandoned or abused; have a parent or guardian who is ill; have suffered increased poverty levels; have been the victims of human rights abuses; or are HIV positive themselves (Smart, 2003, viii).


Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth: Heinemann. Kumpfer, K.L. (1999). Factors and processes contributing to resilience: The resilience framework. In M.D. Glantz & J. Johnston (Eds), Resilience and development: Positive life adaptations (pp 179-224). New York: Plenum. Smart, R. (2003). Policies of orphans and vulnerable children: A framework for moving ahead. Retrieved March 5, 2010, from Institute for Security Studies: 109/contents.htm

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