Mowat, Joan Gaynor
Teaching for understanding within the affective field.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This case study evaluates an initiative – the Support Group Initiative (Sgi) – which aims to provide support to pupils perceived by Pastoral Care Teachers as having, or being at risk of developing, Social and Emotional Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD). The study examines the application of constructivist theory to the affective field, applying the ‘Teaching for Understanding Framework’ (Perkins, 1998 in Wiske (ed.)) in the design and delivery of the approach in a quest to develop further in pupils, intra- and inter-personal-intelligence (Gardner, 1993a, 1999, 2006).
The study explores the extent, if any, to which pupils develop further intra- and inter-personal intelligence and the impact which this has on a range of outcomes related to pupils’ capacities to regulate their behaviour with good judgement in a range of contexts, inter-personal relationships, empathy, self-esteem and confidence, and dispositions towards learning and school. It examines the efficacy of the approach, exploring the variables which affect pupil outcome, and gives consideration to the implications of the study in terms of imperatives within Scottish Education and its contribution to knowledge transformation.
The study employs both qualitative and quantitative methods and a wide range of stakeholder accounts (principally, Sg pupils, parents, Sg Leaders, senior management and teaching staff) and documented evidence, interrogating the data through a process of triangulation.
The thesis argues that one of the major impediments to inclusion is the lack of a shared understanding as to its meaning. Further, the distinctions made between inclusion and exclusion may not hold true – that ‘inclusion’ may often be experienced by young people as ‘exclusion’.
The findings indicate that the Sgi had (with qualifications) impacted upon a range of pupil outcomes. Whilst it is evident that class teachers are more reticent and generally more negative in their observations than other stakeholder groups, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that, to varying extents and dependent upon context, Sgi pupils, as a whole, are becoming more reflective and are gaining intra- and inter-personal intelligence such that it impacts upon the range of outcomes identified in par. 2 (above), although these outcomes are not achieved for all pupils.
Whilst it is evident that the Sgi had not impacted upon pupil attainment (as measured in National tests), there is a statistically significant deterioration (an upward trend) for other pupils within the same cohorts within the school.
The Sgi was generally positively received with the vast majority of pupils considering that it had either met or exceeded their expectations and parents expressing support for the initiative.
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