Research activities

Focus areas:

Educational psychology, specifically promoting self-efficacy and mental health of students, teachers and others within the school system. Academic development of students and staff. Action research as a means to transform and improve education. HIV and Aids and the impact on Education.

Research Projects:

  • Sanpad Project: Read me to resilience! A quasi-experimental study aimed at the empowerment of AIDS orphans. Eastern Cape team member. July 2008- September 2011. National project, collaborating with Prof L Theron (UNW); Prof Cockcroft (WITS).
  • Project Leader – Masilingane Project: Gender Sensitivity. Aimed at helping teachers to become more gender sensitive as a prevention strategy towards HIV & AIDS education. Teachers are facilitated to conduct action research projects in their schools. (April 2008-Feb 2009). Funded by MACAIDS and Columbia University, New York.
  • Co-director and team leader in South Africa: Emergent HIV/AIDS literacy of teachers in disadvantaged school environments – (project is run in collaboration with Oldenburg University, Germany and funded by DAAD).
  • Project leader: School Health Leadership Initiative: Empowering school principals to respond to the HIV and Aids crisis in their schools. Received preliminary funding via NMMU research development fund.
  • Co-leader: Walmer Schools Initiative, project headed by Prof T Olivier. Based on my doctoral research, project is aimed at helping teachers to increase their self-efficacy and make a difference in their community. Project funded by NMMU trust and FNB. Action research is basis for project.
  • Co-leader: Reaching out to make a difference project, Motherwell. Funded by Reserve Bank, this project was the first intervention to increase teacher self-efficacy and incorporates the use of particiapatory social research methods, such as photo voice and video documentary.

Research grants received

  • Research grant from SA Reserve Bank: 2005: Motherwell project.
  • Research grant from NMMU Research Office for overseas conference
  • Research grant from the Stella Luvenstein Trust: 2006: Motherwell project.
  • Research grant from the NMMU Trust: 2006: for the Walmer Township project.
  • NMMU Research Office Development Grant for project with school leadership and HIV and AIDS
  • Research grant from NRF 2007 overseas visit to universities for action research
  • Research grant from Coca Cola for Motherwell project
  • Research grant from Columbia University/MAC AIDS for gender project 2008/9

Publications in accredited journals


Wood, L.A. 2009 What kind of respect is this? Shifting the mindset of teachers regarding cultural perspectives on HIV & AIDS. Action Research. (in press)

Wood, L.A. & Webb, P. 2008. The perceptions and responses of South African school principals regarding HIV & AIDS in their schools. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies. 3 (2): 143-149.

Wood, L.A. & Olivier, MAJ. 2008. Addressing the needs of teachers in disadvantaged environments through strategies to enhance self-efficacy. Teacher Development, 12(2): 151-164.

Olivier, MAJ & Wood, LA. 2007. Inspiring teachers to discern and enrich gifted learners in a disadvantaged environment. International Journal for Gifted Education. 23(2):160-172.


Wood, L.A. & Olivier, M.A.J. 2004. A Holistic Approach to Student Development. South African Journal of Education. 24(4):289-294.

Wood, L.A. & Lithauer, P. 2005. The Added Value of a Foundation Programme. South African Journal of Higher Education. 19(5):1002-1019.

Olivier, M.A.J. & Wood, L. A. 2007. The perceptions of selected Eastern Cape teachers about their capacity to equip learners to cope with life skills. Acta Academica. 39(2):208-227.

Wood, L.A. & Olivier, M.A.J. 2007. Increasing the self-efficacy beliefs of life orientation teachers: an evaluation. Education as Change. 11(1): 161-179.

Wood, L.A., Morar, T. & Mostert, L. 2007. From rhetoric to reality: the role of living theory action research in transforming education. Education as Change. 11(2):67-80.

Wood, L.A. & Webb, P. 2008. HIV – and AIDS-related (mis)perceptions and (non)responses of school principals in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.. African Journal of Aids Research. 7(1): 111–121.

Wood, L.A. & Olivier, M.A.J. 2008. Designing a model to increase teacher self-efficacy. Acta Academica. 40(1): 236-252.

De Lange, N., Olivier, T. & Wood L. 2008. Participatory Video Documentary: Just for Whom? Education as Change (12 (2):109-122.

Wood, L.A. 2009 “Not only a teacher, but an ambassador for HIV & AIDS”: facilitating educators to take action in their schools. African Journal of Aids Research. (in press)

Edited in peer reviewed books

Wood, L. 2008. (Ed). Dealing with HIV & AIDS in the Classroom. Cape Town: Juta.

Olivier, T., Wood, L. & De Lange, N. 2008. Picturing Hope. Cape Town: Juta.

Chapters in peer reviewed books

Hillman, S., Wood, L. & Webb, P. 2008. The nature of HIV and AIDS. In L Wood (Ed). Dealing with HIV & AIDS in the Classroom. Cape Town: Juta.

Wood, L. & Hillman S. 2008. The Impact of HIV & AIDS on Education in Africa. . In L Wood (Ed). Dealing with HIV & AIDS in the Classroom. Cape Town: Juta.

Wood, L. 2008. Sociocultural Factors. In L Wood (Ed). Dealing with HIV & AIDS in the Classroom. Cape Town: Juta.

Wood, L. & Daniels, E. 2008. Human Rights. In L Wood (Ed). Dealing with HIV & AIDS in the Classroom. Cape Town: Juta.

Wood, L. 2008. Care and Support. In L Wood (Ed). Dealing with HIV & AIDS in the Classroom. Cape Town: Juta.

Olivier, T., Wood, L. & De Lange, N. 2007. 'Changing our Eyes': Seeing hope. In N de Lange, C Mitchell & J Stuart, J. (Eds.) Putting people in the picture: Visual Methodologies for social change. Amsterdam: Sense.

Pithouse, K., de Lange, N., Mitchell, C., Moletsane, R., Olivier, T., Stuart, J., van Laren L. & Wood, L. 2008. Arts-based and other participatory strategies for teacher development in the age of AIDS. In J. Kirk. & M. Dembele (Eds). More and Better Teachers: Teachers and Teacher Issues in Development Contexts. UNESCO IIEP/id21 Insights Education.

Wood, L.A. Self-exploration of teachers’ gender constructs: a values-based approach to HIV prevention. In C Mitchell, R Moletsane and K Pithouse. Making Connections. Amsterdam: Sense. (in press).

Newspaper articles

Helping teachers deal with HIV/Aids (article in the LaFemme, The Herald, Port Elizabeth, 26 November 2008).

Contact information
Prof Lesley Wood
Nelson Mandela University Research Associate
Tel: +27 18 299 4770 (mobile: +27 082 296 9202)