Coping diversity: Guide

Dr Marlize Malan van Rooyen| View as single page | Feedback/Impact


This case study illustrates coping diversity in a context where community members hold indigenous knowledge systems. Indigenous knowledge systems are associated with non-western cultures (such cultures are found in Asia, Africa, India, Latin America and the Middle East). Non-western cultures are known for their collectivistic orientation (which emphasises relationships and the relational self), whereas western cultures are often associated with an individualistic orientation (which places the individual at the centre and focuses on individual behaviour). Differences between having a collectivistic orientation versus an individualistic orientation can manifest in fundamental differences in the way in which people cope with stress.  It is important for teaching professionals and educational psychologists to be aware of such differences in order to provide meaningful and relevant support.

The case study is presented in the format of answering the questions stipulated by the conceptual framework. The case study further provides an example of valuable information that can be obtained if teaching professionals and educational psychologists engage with a learner’s wider system. In this case the wider system involved perspectives from the boarder community.

Note: A good way to approach the case study is to pretend that you have a learner in the classroom who needs support and comes from a community similar to the one in the case study. You can even think of ways you can provide support in such a context.