Linda Theron

Linda Theron (D.Ed.)
Dep. of Educational Psychology
Faculty of Education
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Psychologist (Educational; PS 0063622)

Tree growing from rocks
South African students explain their resilience processes Video - South African students explain their resilience

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Pathways to Resilience

Introduction to Khazimula

(See Pathways to Resilience Page for the complete list of videos )
Included photos / drawings are copyrighted; photos taken by Prof Tinie Theron or Mr Eswill Theron

The first SISU team meeting was held from 20-24 January at the University of Helsinki (UH), in Helsinki, Finland. SISU is a Finnish word that is broadly understood to mean resilience. The SISU project (co-led by Prof Kristiina Kumpulainen, UH and Prof Linda Theron, Optentia) investigates the social ecologies of resilience among at-risk children starting school in Finland and South Africa. It is a visual participatory study. The purpose of the first team meeting was to revisit the research plan which has been funded by the NRF (2013-2015) and the Academy of Finland, and to train the PhD students in the use of the participatory visual methodologies that inform SISU. The entire South African SISU team (Profs Tinie and Linda Theron, Prof Tumi Khumalo and PhD students Carla Bezuidenhout and Carlien Kahl) participated in this valuable first meeting. The meeting was reported by the Academy of Finland (see

First SISU team meeting

First SISU team meeting - The SISU Team (Back row: Prof Kristiina Kumpulainen, UH; Anna Mikkola, PhD student, UH; Saara Salmi, PhD student, UH; Prof Linda Theron, Optentia; Prof Tinie Theron, Optentia. Front row: Carlien Kahl, PhD student, Optentia; Carla Bezuidenhout, PhD student, Optentia; Prof Tumi Khumalo, Optentia).

Not only did the meeting offer the Finnish and South African teams an opportunity to bond as the SISU team, but it also gave the SA team an opportunity to experience first-hand what very different risks threaten the development of Finnish children compared to South African ones. For example, the Finnish team will recruit children who are placed at risk by their coming from very affluent homes where parents have too little time for their children and/or too high expectations of their children. In comparison, the South African team will recruit children from economically disadvantaged communities as this is a pervasive context of risk in South Africa. The realities of the South African context were expertly demonstrated in the presentations made by the PhD students Carla Bezuidenhout and Carlien Kahl.
Even though the very warm welcome by the Finnish team made up for the bitterly cold weather (-14C to -18C), the next meeting will be in November 2014 in sunny South Africa. Linda Theron and the Pathways to Resilience & Post-traumatic Growth Program is looking very forward to welcoming and hosting the Finnish team. In the meantime, both teams will be engaged in rigorous data generation.


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