Irma Eloff

University of Pretoria, Πρετόρια/Πόλη του Ακρωτηρίου, Gauteng, South Africa

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Publications (35)17.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This article describes the challenges that teachers negotiated in a rural school (thwarted by rurality in an emerging-economy context) to remain partners in a long-term research project. We use the generative theory of rurality to theoretically locate the challenges and thematic analysis of six years' Participatory Reflection and Action (PRA) data with South African teachers (n = 9) in a rural school. Insights may contribute to knowledge about partnerships with marginalised-school partners. Knowing which obstacles teacher-partners had to overcome to continue in a project, may inform the conceptualisation and implementation of enduring partnerships.
    Teaching and Teacher Education 01/2015; 45:59–72. · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study is to assess the efficacy of an intervention designed to promote resilience in young children living with their HIV-positive mothers.
    AIDS (London, England) 07/2014; 28 Suppl 3:S347-S357. · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prior investigations suggest that maternal HIV/AIDS poses significant challenges to young children. This study investigates the relationships between mothers' psychological functioning, parenting, and children's behavioral outcomes and functioning in a population of women living with HIV (N = 361) with a child between the ages of 6 and 10 years in Tshwane, South Africa. Utilizing path analysis, findings revealed that maternal depression is related to increased parenting stress and parent-child dysfunction, maternal coping is related to parenting style, and maternal coping, parenting style and stress, and parent-child dysfunction are associated with children's behavior and functioning, with parenting emerging as an important mediator. These findings suggest that interventions for women living with HIV and their children should not only address maternal psychological functioning (depression and coping), but should also focus on parenting, promoting a positive approach.
    AIDS and Behavior 07/2013; · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Adults with HIV are living longer due to earlier diagnosis and increased access to antiretroviral medications. Therefore, fewer young children are being orphaned and instead, are being cared for by parents who know they are HIV positive, although they may be asymptomatic. Presently, it is unclear whether the psychological functioning of these young children is likely to be affected or, alternatively, whether it is only when a mother is ill, that children suffer adverse effects. We, thus, aimed to compare the behavior and psychological functioning of young children (aged 6-10 years) of HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers. We also aimed to examine the association between HIV status disclosure and child outcomes. This study uses cross-sectional data from the baseline assessment of a randomized controlled trial conducted in Tshwane, South Africa. Participants (n=509) and their children were recruited from area health clinics. Among the 395 mothers with HIV, 42% reported symptoms of HIV disease. Multivariate linear regression models suggested that after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, children of HIV-positive mothers had significantly greater externalizing behaviors than children of HIV-negative mothers. Importantly, children whose mothers were symptomatic had greater internalizing and externalizing behaviors compared with children of HIV-negative mothers, but this was not true for children of asymptomatic mothers. Additionally, among children of HIV-positive mothers, those who had been told their mothers were sick compared with children who had been told nothing had less internalizing and externalizing behaviors and improved daily living skills. This study, therefore, provides evidence that maternal HIV disease can affect the behaviors of young children in South Africa but, importantly, only when the mothers are symptomatic from their disease. Furthermore, results suggest that disclosure of maternal illness but not HIV status was associated with improved behavior and psychological functioning among young children.
    AIDS Care 03/2013; · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of sandplay therapy to overcome a language barrier in the process of emotionally supporting a very young, Human Immunosuppresive Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) infected, orphaned Sotho-speaking child. The qualitative case study involved informal assessment and re-assessment, and employed observation, interviews, field notes, and photographs. In our hermeneutic-reflective narrative of the sessions we employed a psychoanalytical developmental model, an object relations, and a Gestalt therapy perspective, and highlighted the value of therapeutic touch. Our thematic analysis and crystallization of data indicated that 18 sessions of sandplay therapy had been effective in supporting her emotionally, and may be useful for vulnerable children with pre-verbal trauma.
    The Arts in Psychotherapy 01/2013; · 0.58 Impact Factor
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    Irma Eloff, L. K. Kgwete
    Childhood Education. 07/2012; 83(6).
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the process of developing a parallel intervention for HIV-positive mothers and their young children (6-10 years) with a view to strengthening the relationship between them. Strong mother-child relationships can contribute to enhanced psychological resilience in children. The intervention was developed through action research, involving a situation analysis based on focus group discussions; intervention planning, piloting the intervention and a formative evaluation of the intervention. Participants supplied feedback regarding the value of the intervention in mother-child relationships. The findings obtained from the formative evaluation were used to refine the intervention. Two parallel programmes for mothers and children (15 sessions each) were followed by 10 joint sessions. The intervention for mothers focused on maternal mental health and the strengthening of their capacity to protect and care for their young children. The intervention for children addressed the development of their self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and survival skills. The formative evaluation provided evidence of good participation, support and group cohesion. Qualitative feedback indicated that the activities stimulated mother-child interaction. A similar intervention can easily be applied elsewhere using the detailed manual. The insights gained and lessons learnt related to mother and child interaction within an HIV-context that emerged from this research, can be valuable in other settings, both in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.
    Evaluation and program planning 04/2012; 35(4):491-500. · 0.89 Impact Factor
  • Irma Eloff
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    ABSTRACT: In this article I reflect on three central theoretical constructs in the work of W.A. Landman. I unpack the constructs of understanding, trust and authority, conceptualized as pedagogical relationship structures by Landman, by connecting them with more recent studies focusing on the same constructs. I do this in order to assess the relevance of Landman's constructs to educational phenomena today. The article postulates three central tenets: I argue that i) understandings of these three constructs be expanded beyond the individual adult-child educational relationship, ii) the intrinsic associations between the three constructs still be retained as we expand their utility, and that iii) we include more systemic complexities in our theoretical understanding of the constructs understanding, trust and authority. In this manner, I hypothesize that Landman's theory on pedagogical relationships-structures can increase its applicability and relevance in today's complex teaching and learning contexts. The article sets out to revisit the notions of understanding, trust and authority as it was defined by Landman and his colleagues in their educational work from 1960 - 1980. It is evident that all of these constructs are defined in terms of relationships between adults and children. The constructs are strongly connected to one another in the ways in which they are theorized. The cogitations of the concepts furthermore foreground significant equality between adults and children, even though the responsibility for leading the child to independent adulthood rests upon the shoulders of the adult. "Understanding" is conceptualized in terms of the responsibility of the adult to fully understand the nature of the child - in order to create fruitful teaching and learning situations. The definition of "trust" connects the need to venture into the unknown, the importance of full acceptance and appropriate expectations, security, love and warmth. Landman defi nes "authority" by stressing the importance of good example and the need for children to participate in decisionmaking. He stresses that deep and mutual understanding and authentic trust are prerequisites for authority within the adult-child relationship. Throughout the article, I mirror the reflections about Landman's work by pointing towards the key precepts of good theories, e.g. the fact that good theories consist of simple elementary theoretical constructs (such as understanding, trust and authority), that they explain observable phenomena in the natural world, they are logical, they connect certain constructs and they are descriptive in nature. Several contemporary studies on understanding, trust and authority are connected to Landman's work. The studies quoted straddle a variety of scientific disciplines. The studies which explore "understanding" show the links between the words we use to describe the world and our understanding of it. It also shows how "understanding" is viewed beyond an individual personal relationship. Studies in this fi eld also seem to have become strongly systemically inclined. When it comes to studies on "trust" the nuanced view of trust becomes evident. I foreground the fact that there are various types of trust as well as various degrees of trust identifi ed in recent studies. The need to conceptualize trust on a systemic level emerges again from current studies. The anti-authoritarian intellectual discourse has changed the way in which "authority" is being conceptualized today - of the three constructs under discussion here, perhaps the most signifi cantly. While Landman has been consistent in warning about the penurious effect of defi ning authority without trust and understanding, current studies have a stronger focus on the links between authority, power and knowledge production, the need for non-aggressive authority and the connections between prosperity and power. Based on these observations, the article concludes with the three arguments stated in the first paragraph of this summary, e.g. a proposal to expand Landman's conceptualizations beyond the individual adult-child educational relationship, ii) retaining the intrinsic associations between the three constructs, and iii) including systemic complexities with regard to understanding, trust and authority in Education.
    Tydskrift vir Geesteswetenskappe 06/2011; 51(2):202-213. · 0.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Kgolo Mmogo study is a randomised controlled intervention trial that examines the effectiveness of a group intervention to enhance resilience in HIV-infected South African mothers (N = 427) and their young children (N = 435). We describe here how the severity of psychological and social problems experienced by some of the study participants required referrals for other services and discuss the barriers encountered in facilitating such referrals. Over a 30-month period 54 mothers and 59 children were referred for additional support. For mothers, the most frequent reasons for referral related to domestic violence and problems within relationships, while for children the most common grounds for referral were the evaluation and treatment of behavioural problems and severe emotional disturbances, including depression. Eight children were referred for suspected abuse. Observations from the study demonstrate that current systems for referral are overloaded and that there is a paucity of specialised services available. Our experience suggests that participants may benefit from using the intervention as a first point of support and that psychosocial referrals should perhaps be delayed until functional advice is provided (within the group) on ways of accessing wider support effectively. The intervention may also benefit from the inclusion of an intervention team member who is specifically tasked to follow up on referrals. This includes follow-up for participants who were not included in the group intervention. Furthermore, we argue that socio-economic constraints, which often manifest as lack of mobility to access service delivery, can severely impact on the implementation of an intervention study in a developing context. This constraint is experienced in terms of limited access to experimental intervention groups and services from referrals.
    South African journal of psychology = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir sielkunde 03/2011; 41(1):38-51. · 0.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Language is required for learning, but educators often find it difficult to facilitate listening and language skills while they have to adapt to a new national curriculum with an outcomes-based approach for which they have not necessarily been adequately trained. A multifaceted support programme was developed for foundation-phase educators to facilitate listening and language for literacy and numeracy, with a particular focus on language for numeracy. The aim of the research was to determine the value of this particular support programme for foundation-phase educators in two different contexts (a semi-rural and a township context). A mixed methods approach with a concurrent, equal status triangulation design was used, where qualitative data were transformed to quantitative data in order to be compared in a matrix. The results show that the participants benefited to varying degrees from the programme. The combination of workshops, practical and mentoring components proved to be an effective means of support. The results indicate a need for pre-training selection procedures as more effective support can be provided to homogeneous groups.
    The South African journal of communication disorders. Die Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir Kommunikasieafwykings 12/2010; 57:14-21.
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    ABSTRACT: This article describes an action research intervention to augment community-based volunteer counsellors’ support capacity. We conducted a case study with purposefully selected community-based volunteers (N = 30). From a narrative and positive psychology framework we developed and implemented an intervention which focused on memory box-making (MBM). The participants’ ranges of psychosocial competencies were explored pre- and post-intervention by way of observation, focus-group discussions, as well as informal conversational interviews. We found that the volunteers acquired the skills and applied them competently.
    Education as Change 12/2010; 14(S1):S73-S84. · 0.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Children in South Africa are educated to identify with democratic values and democracy in post-apartheid society. As yet, we have no empirical evidence on their views on and identification with the new South African democracy. When given an opportunity to express their life experiences, the 9-year-old child citizens of this case study revealed their democratic identity on various levels. These children expressed a weak identification with democracy on the local level but a strong identification with democracy on the national level. The authors argue that the weak identification on the local level may influence the children’s identification with democracy negatively. It is the key finding of this study that a lack of democratic identification may endanger the sustainability of the South African democracy into the future.
    Childhood 01/2010; 17(3):396-410. · 1.10 Impact Factor
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    I. Eloff, A. de Wet
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    ABSTRACT: This research entailed an ethnographic study that sought assets and resources to enrich pre‐school learning in a community challenged by poverty. The aim of this research was to identify personal and environmental assets that could be used to enrich pre‐school learning within this context—instead of focusing on needs and deficiencies. The assets included objects and artefacts that could be used for pre‐school learning. Observations, field notes, interviews, photographs and artefacts were used to study the community while participating as a member of the community. Numerous assets were identified. Seven main themes were derived from a collective summary of data. The main themes were: children, culture, man‐made products, the natural environment, local institutions and citizens' associations, crafts and caretakers. The themes were expanded into categories and subcategories. The results of this research study suggest that this particular community is rich with potential, opportunities and material to enrich the pre‐school learning of children.
    Early Child Development and Care 04/2009; 179(3):247-257.
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    ABSTRACT: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=31737346&loginpage=Login.asp&site=ehost-live
    Journal of Special Education - J SPEC EDUC. 01/2008; 42(1):26-35.
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a study that sought to find alternative pathways to conceptualising vulnerable children. We have extracted a section from a longitudinal study that focuses on the ways in which vulnerable children in a rural community in South Africa cope with the impact of HIV and AIDS. We relied on the concepts of assets, resources and capacities to guide our understanding of 'vulnerable children', in an attempt to open up conceptualisations of the term, which have previously almost exclusively focused on deficits and needs. The study used a case study design with a small group of children who were engaged in making memory boxes. The study shows that numerous resources and capacities for coping and well-being are evident within and around the children. Most prominent among the capacities of the participants in this study are a positive identity and essential social competencies.
    African Journal of AIDS Research 04/2007; 6(1). · 0.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A B S T R A C T Parent participation is considered to be a vital component in the education of students with disabilities. Parents' roles in pivotal changes in special education—specifically, inclusion—are acknowledged, and their rights are protected in special education law. However, their perspectives are not always understood or considered in the decision-making process. In this study, parents of children with disabilities in South Africa and in a midwestern state of the United States participated in focus group discussions regarding inclusive education. The results indicated that parent perceptions, experiences, and barriers to effective family—school partnerships and parent advocacy were remarkably similar on the two continents. Implications and recommendations for preservice teacher education are discussed.
    Remedial and Special Education 01/2007; 28(6):356-365. · 0.68 Impact Factor
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    Cheryl Williams, Irma Eloff
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    ABSTRACT: The focus of this article is on the positive emotional responses of mothers to children with learning difficulties. Initially, a narrative research design, within a constructivist and interpretivist paradigm, was used to capture a chapter in the life stories of eleven mothers whose children were attending a school specialising in ‘remedial’ education, relating their experiences and emotional responses regarding their child's learning difficulties. A subsequent theme analysis focused on the positive emotional responses of these mothers to their children. The study found substantial evidence of positive emotional responses towards the children as well as the school where support was provided. Results indicate strong responses of love, happiness, understanding, relief, acceptance and hopefulness in the majority of the participants.
    Education As Change - EDUC CHANG. 01/2007; 11(1):21-41.
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    S Meyer, J C Cronje, I Eloff
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    ABSTRACT: This article concentrates on the role that affective learning plays in e-learning. Understandably, personal contact is minimal in online learning so the question arises: How do students cope with the lack of personal contact? The purpose of this study was to explore and interpret the participants' affective experiences in an online learning environment. The basis for the study was a master's course presented entirely online for a period of six weeks. The style of the internationally acclaimed reality television game show, Survivor # , was used as a guiding format for developing the course. The game was played in cyberspace; and as the learning experiences of participants were based on surfing the Web, the game was called CyberSurfiver. The nature of the interaction between the participants and their feelings throughout the game were monitored and recorded by reading their e-mails. Once the course was completed, two focus group interviews were held to discuss the feelings participants experienced during the course. The findings were then compared to Krathwohl's taxonomy of the affective domain. Kort and Reilly's model on the integration of affect served as an instrument to measure the affective responses and development of the participants throughout the course.
    South African Journal of Higher Education. 01/2007; 21(3):429 - 442.
  • Elsa Popich, Brenda Louw, Irma Eloff
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    ABSTRACT: Many early interventionists in clinical practice still do not appear to be wholeheartedly committed to participating in the prevention of communication disorders and the promotion of optimal development, which have been identified as primary roles for all professionals (ASHA, 1991). Owing to the prevalence of risk factors such as HIV/AIDS and poverty, infants and young children in developing countries such as South Africa are at an even higher risk for developing communication disorders, resulting in a greater need for early interventionists to focus on the prevention of communication disorders and the tools needed to achieve this. The purpose of this article is to (1) highlight the need for prevention of communication disorders and discuss the different types of prevention strategies used with special reference made to the needs within South Africa; (2) to highlight the potential benefits of caregiver education programs on communication development, including a discussion on a South African study that developed a tool that could be used for caregiver education; and (3) to encourage early interventionists to participate in prevention actions through the provision of practical guidelines and strategies.
    Infants and young children 12/2006; 20(1):64-81. · 0.91 Impact Factor
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    M & Moletsane, I Eloff
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    ABSTRACT: In this article the researchers describe the adjusted procedures that were developed in a study that focused on administering the Rorschach Comprehensive System (RCS) to young South African learners. Multiple case studies with non-patients were used within a pre-test/post-test design. During pre-testing the standard procedures for conducting the RCS were used. Half of the participants failed to provide the required number of responses that would allow interpretation in terms of the Rorschach system. Subsequently an adjusted procedure was developed, which was based on the observations of the researchers, a review of the literature, and consideration of possible inhibiting factors, such as participant variables, researcher variables, and procedural variables. During post-testing, 10 months later, the Adjusted Rorschach Comprehensive Procedures for conducting the test were used. The response rates of participants increased significantly, with most of the participants providing more than the required number of responses.
    South African journal of psychology = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir sielkunde 11/2006; 36(4). · 0.46 Impact Factor