Social Distancing, Cultural and Psychological Effects on Learners in a Rural Setting in Zimbabwe
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Keywords:coronavirus, covid-19, learners, lockdown, social distancing, Zimbabwe.
Social distancing has proven to be one effective reaction to the threat of increasing numbers of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and fatalities. The crisis around COVID-19 and social distancing is leaving an indelible footprint on the hearts and minds of the learners. The impact and ripple effects around the teaching and learning fraternities is likely too vast to comprehend for the learners. The study seeks to unveil the socio-cultural and psychological effects of social distancing on the learners in Zimbabwe. The study was limited to Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe. Respondents were 10 learners from secondary schools and 10 from primary schools. Data were electronically collected to observe the ongoing lockdown and social distancing measures. Semi-structured interview schedules were the tools for data gathering. The study was underpinned using the interactionist, socio-cultural theory of Vygotsky and Sullivan’s interpersonal theory. The findings of the study revealed that learners lack psycho-social support from home. The situation is causing stress, depression, loss of feeling of control over one’s life, low self-esteem and loss of aspiration. There is also unavailability of peer support, peer tutoring, co-operative and competitive learning and resources which are essential pedagogies for effective learning. Access to the Internet is a challenge for many learners due to the poor economic status of the country. Most of the learners are worried about their well-being and that of their family-members in-turn, this affects the academe. Guidance and counselling lessons have become more vital to support learners during this social distancing era.
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