What has been the impact of re-sitting AS-Level examinations in Economics and Business Studies on students at a boys’ independent school in the West Midlands?Williams, David Andrew January 2009 (has links)
This dissertation examines the impact that AS-level re-sits have had on a selective independent boys’ school in the West Midlands, which in the interest of anonymity is referred to throughout as ‘School X’. Significantly, and as reflected in the title for this dissertation, unlike the vast majority of secondary schools, A2-level examinations at School X are not sat by students until the final summer of the two year course; therefore, re-sits at this level are not possible. The opening chapter provides an outline of how the introduction of unlimited re-sits can be perceived as being a logical progression as one of a number of developments in the A-level qualification, especially over the past two decades or so, which have invariably contributed to higher pass rates and levels of attainment, as measured by its six point (‘A’ to ‘U’) grading system. In the next chapter, secondary research has been divided into two sections. The first considers the robustness of the qualification, which has existed for well over half a century and the extent to which its survival has reflected the interests of the key stakeholders who have benefited from its reputation as the nation’s educational ‘gold standard’. On one hand, the introduction of re-sits itself can be understood as one in a relatively long line of incremental changes in the structure of A-level, which have helped to prolong its shelf-life by making it a more accessible and quantifiably successful qualification. On the other, this can be contrasted against the extent to which the opportunity for students to re-sit might have contributed to, arguably, the implosion of the qualification in its Curriculum 2000 form, as pass rates nudge towards 100 per cent, and the subsequent need for either its fundamental restructuring or abandonment altogether. The second section examines literature which is relevant to supporting a challenge against the popular notion that a modular course such as A-level contains few, if any, characteristics which are embodied in the ‘elements’ of a formative approach to teaching and learning as outlined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2005, p.15). A case is subsequently made for how a course which allows unlimited re-sits and where candidates have access to their marked scripts, still provides opportunities for interaction between teachers and students which are not normally associated with summative forms of assessment in the learning process. Chapter three explains how primary data were gathered through various techniques, including an approach that involved a mixture of a structured group interview and self-completion questionnaire, which two broad categories of students at School X participated in over a two year period. One of these consisted of students studying either A-level Business Studies or Economics (and in a few cases, both subjects). The other consisted of ‘pre-Alevel’ students, back in school at the end of the summer term after sitting their GCSEs, for a few ‘taster lessons’ in their chosen subjects for A-level. A combination of questions which elicited both quantitative and qualitative responses was used in this instrument of research which represented something of an unconventional approach to methodology, but it proved to be an appropriate technique for efficiently amassing data from scores of students each year, at various stages in their post-16 studies. Interviews were also conducted with numerous members of the teaching profession, mainly, but not exclusively, at School X and for the purpose of comparison with similar institutions, three discussions took place on an annual basis with staff from other independent schools, guided by me on a ‘focus group’ basis. Supplemented by information from examination performance documents produced by senior management at School X, commercial publications, the examination boards themselves and a variety of governmental and quasi-governmental sources, this allowed me to adhere to a ‘data triangulation’ approach, as classified by Denzin (1988) and summarised by Robson (2002, p.175), which “help[ed] to counter…the threats to validity.” The one-to-one interviews on the other hand became more tightly structured with each round, to reflect the sharper objectives for the dissertation which emerged over time and were thus orientated towards a ‘within-method triangulation’ approach (Denzin, 1988). Turning more specifically, in chapter four, to the main objectives of the study, the analysis of results and findings from my empirical research attempts to establish the main motives for re-sitting A-level Economics and Business Studies, as well as the costs and benefits of so doing. The latter objective primarily concerns students, but other factors, such as the impact on the teaching process, are also examined. Chapter five considers the future role of A-level re-sits in the context of the restructuring of the qualification from September 2008 and the alternatives in the post-16 curriculum that exist. The study concludes with a brief, reflective chapter, on how re-sits can contribute to teaching and learning.
Developing positive teacher pupil relationships in response to current Chinese educational reform : the potential contribution of circle timeWu, Ling January 2009 (has links)
This mixed design research sought to introduce, conduct and investigate Circle Time as a pedagogical practice for developing an equal and positive teacher-pupil relationship in a Chinese secondary school and as a contribution to current Chinese educational reform. This study started from exploring English secondary students’ experience of and perspectives on Circle Time. Therefore, a Chinese secondary school was chosen as an experimental school to investigate the operation of Circle Time, students’ and teachers’ reaction to Circle Time and affective education. The adoption of western pedagogy into Chinese schools resulted in an examination of both the contexts: the practical pedagogy, Circle Time; and the environment, the Chinese secondary school. The first concept was that Circle Time is a tool to be examined as a contribution to students’ personal and interpersonal development. Could Circle Time function in the same way as it does in Western Countries? The second concept was that Circle Time is an intervention, to investigate the issues of teacher-pupil relationships and affective education in the current Chinese educational system. Although this study was not a pure comparative study, the significance of comparing the students’ experience and understanding of Circle Time in both the UK and China firstly provided guidance about the conduct of Circle Time in Chinese school; and also drew a comprehensive picture of how to do Circle Time in Chinese school by comparing students’ views and opinions. For the Chinese school, the comparative results provide an opportunity to examine the pedagogical practice. For the English school, they provide the chance to understand how Circle Time functions in other cultures. However, this study was not just about comparing students’ experience and opinions about Circle Time, but exploring Chinese teachers’ and students’ perceptions and reactions to affective education by investigating their attitudes and experience of participation and reflection on this. The findings showed that Circle Time not only provided an exceptional opportunity in which students could express feelings, release burdens, understand and learn from each other, develop personal and interpersonal skills and potentially raise their self-esteem and achieve emotional competency, but it also created a unique environment in which individuals were respected and encouraged to develop an equal and open relationship among students and between teachers and students. The study also looked at issues that arise for Chinese teachers in transferring their traditional hierarchical role to an equal and democratic teacher-pupil relationship and in adopting a child-centred teaching method to replace or supplement the current examination-orientated teaching. The findings also showed that Chinese teachers are in need of motivation and support in adopting new pedagogy, teaching methods and social economic change.
Can selected Shakespearean stories impact on personal and social development? : seven case studies at Key Stage 3Lighthill, Brian January 2011 (has links)
This longitudinal study provides a critique of current delivery of PSHFE and Citizenship lessons and offers an original transdisciplinary approach to these learning-for-life subjects. Using action research methodologies, the study investigated whether selected Shakespearean stories could stimulate Socratic discussions on the decisions made by the characters. Then, in parallel with the topics on the PSHFE and Citizenship curricula, the students philosophised on alternative ways of thinking and acting and vicariously develop their own social and moral reasoning. The research design was based on the eclectic ‘bricoleur’ model developed by Kincheloe and Berry (2004) and was supported by both quantitative and qualitative analyses. In order to capture the complexity of measuring the impact of Shakespearean stories a threetiered research template was designed. Based on the response to neo-Kohlbergian conundrums discussed in the thrice-yearly home interviews, the informers’ personal and social development (PSD) was assessed using Kohlberg’s ‘six stages in moral reasoning’ as a measuring stick. Then, having triangulated the PSD variations from other sources, ‘partial connections’ (Law, 2007, p.155) were sought between the Shakespearean stories used in the action research and the informers’ PSD. Case study analyses indicate that, for the majority of the informers, partial connections were made between the Shakespearean stories and their PSD during KS3. The boundary set by this investigation was that the case studies consisted of seven randomly selected informers based in one school. However, the aforementioned quantitative studies were used to establish the representability of the students to the wider population. The action research offered nine interpretive discoveries which could contribute to more effective delivery of PSHFE and Citizenship. The key conceptual discovery was that PSHFE and Citizenship need another kind of pedagogic approach if they are to help develop empathetic and active citizens - an approach which would move the teacher/student relationship towards a facilitator/student partnership and have ramifications for teacher recruitment and training.
Fancourt, Nigel Peter Michell
This research investigates the nature of pupil self-assessment in religious education. It considers the implications of theories of self-assessment as assessment for leaming for self-reflection in pedagogies of pluralistic religious education, and vice versa. Assessment for learning: Research on assessment has claimed that selfassessment is essential in formative assessment, to combat the negative effects of summative assessment. Other recent research has considered the situated nature of classroom practice. How would these classroom factors affect selfassessment in RE? Policy and pedagogy In religious education: The history of the current policy documents is analysed using policy scholarship, and the tension is revealed between measurable intellectual skills and a wider understanding of the place of religious education in developing tolerance and respect, both in the England and Wales, and internationally. Are policy and assessment properly aligned? Practitioner research: Virtue theory is developed as a research paradigm for practitioner research for professional development. Rigour is established through a reflexive use of qualitative, largely ethnographic methods, especially group interviews. Analysis includes consideration of pupils' assessment careers. Reflexive self-assessment: As a result of analyzing the data on assessment and religious education an original form of self-assessment is proposed. Reflexive self-assessment is a subject-specific model of self-assessment, linked to interpretive approaches. This harmonizes classroom self-assessment of both intellectual skills and intercultural values. The classroom conditions necessary to allow it to develop are examined. The implications of this for theories of self-assessment, learning autonomy and current policies of religious education are considered. Finally, the research is reviewed, notably the implications for researching and teaching, and future developments. The quality of the research is defended, in terms of significance, originality and rigour.
An investigation into the relationships among experience, teacher cognition, context, and classroom practice in EFL grammar teaching in ArgentinaSantiago Sanchez, Hugo January 2010 (has links)
Language teacher cognition has been an area of research interest for more than three decades, diversifying in recent years into a wide range of academic areas such as teacher development, initial teacher education, grammar teaching, literacy instruction, task-based learning, phonology, testing, technology, and classroom research. Much of this research, however, has been based in private language institutes or universities in developed countries, especially English-speaking ones, and has focused on identifying and describing individual teacher cognitions mostly in novice native-speaker practitioners. The present study aims to help redress this tendency by examining the cognitions and experiences, and the relationships among them, of two experienced non-native speaker teachers of English working at a state secondary school in Argentina. Using multi-methods such as semi-structured interviews, autobiographical accounts, classroom observation, stimulated recall, teacher diaries, and a grammaticality judgement task, this research project explores the teachers’ prior language learning experiences, knowledge about grammar, and grammar-related pedagogical knowledge in relation to their actual grammar teaching practices. In addition, there is a focus on the role which contextual factors play in shaping the application of these experiential and cognitive constructs, and on the interplay among these factors to help define the teachers’ grammar pedagogical decisions and actions. The findings reveal that experiential and cognitive factors appear to account for the major differences between these teachers’ teaching theories, practices, and rationales; whereas context-bound influences explain the similarities between their classroom instructional actions. They also show that language teacher cognition is informed by different sources (the teachers’ personal and prior educational history, their professional education, and their accumulated experience) and that teachers construct a context, instantiated by the interaction between their language teacher cognition and the contextual factors inside and around the classroom, which mediates between their cognitions and practice. These results carry direct implications for those involved in teacher cognition, language teacher research, teacher education, and materials design.
Since the mid-1970s there has been a greater emphasis placed on markets and competition as a means of allocating scarce resources. As a consequence of this the provision of public services has come under close scrutiny. In the English further education sector there has been structural and strategic change. The further education (FE) colleges are positioned to be able to play a key role inÂ· the economic and social regeneration of the UK. The development- of 'managerialism' has occasioned the use of many practices and procedures more commonly associated with the private sector provision of goods and services. This study examines whether the concept of organizational culture has meaning and validity in a further education context. Research in this area is complex, time consuming and expensive. The concept of organizational culture is examined and evidence is gathered from a case study in Templeton College. The analysis of the evidence employs some of Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of the social world: field habitus and game. The evidence suggests that there is no integrated pattern of shared beliefs or behaviours that can claim to be a distinct entity. External factors are more likely to determine the situated social practices that exist within colleges. The case study approach has limited the external validity of the research and further analysis of . colleges is needed to verify the claims in this thesis. The study demonstrates that the migration of private sector management practices and concepts to the public sector is not an unproblematic process. FE would benefit from more extensive practitioner research; the more widely and deeply the colleges understand themselves the better chance for securing lasting improvements. Organizational culture is unlikely to be a significant lever of change in FE and colleges may be better advised to build a teaching and learning ethos.
A study investigating the impact of peer mentoring on pupils transitioning into secondary school who may be at risk of behavioural, emotional and social difficultiesPerry, Elaine January 2011 (has links)
Transition to secondary school is almost always a significant period of worry and anxiety. Research has linked it to a number of negative outcomes for young people including lower self-esteem and self-concept and lower academic achievement. Previous literature suggests that peer mentoring can combat negative effects associated with transition. The study explored the use of peer mentoring to support pupils who may be at risk of developing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties following transition to secondary school. A pre-test post-test two-group randomised controlled trial investigated the impact on the Year 7 pupils. To examine the impact on Year 9 peer mentors, a pre-test post-test single group design was applied. The quantitative data from Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ), Resiliency Scales and school attendance was analysed using ANOVAs and t-tests. A questionnaire was used to explore pupil views of the scheme and analysed using thematic analysis. No significant impact was found from the quantitative measures for either mentees or peer mentors. Whilst pupils largely enjoyed the experience, this did not translate into a significant measurable impact. Both the control and intervention group significantly improved on a number of SDQ subscales suggesting pupils may naturally improve following transition. The main themes regarding the things most liked about peer mentoring included having someone to talk to and supporting others. Areas proposed which could improve future schemes included a better environment and more frequent sessions. The study had some methodological limitations including a relatively small sample size, limiting the generalisability of the results; however, results coincide with previous research and the researcher questions future use of peer mentoring without more thorough investigation. This thesis highlights the lack of and need for well-conducted research into interventions before they are widely implemented.
Mindfulness in schools : a mixed methods investigation of how secondary school pupils perceive the impact of studying mindfulness in school and the barriers to its successful implementationKempson, Robert Joseph January 2012 (has links)
Research conducted into the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions has considered at length their application in treating a range of clinical disorders. More recently, work has identified such interventions as being potentially applicable within school settings as a method of supporting pupils’ social and emotional development. This study reports the results of a mixed methods investigation designed to explore how pupils from two secondary schools perceive the impact of studying ‘mindfulness’ as part of an eight-week school-based curriculum and the barriers to its successful implementation. A range of qualitative and quantitative methods (online questionnaire, focus groups and in-depth interviews) were employed to capture the depth and breadth of pupils’ experiences. The data revealed distinct variability in pupils’ perceptions, highlighting how various psychological, social and functional factors impacted their experience of the curriculum itself and the practices taught within it. The reported impacts of such factors are broadly consistent with those highlighted in previous research and the theoretical literature regarding mindfulness. Pupils also described a number of issues preventing their engagement in mindfulness practice outside the classroom (e.g. a perceived lack of ability, forgetfulness and self-consciousness) and factors perceived to limit their impact (e.g. difficulty of technique, problems concentrating and the presence of environmental distractions). The results of this study reinforce the need for detailed exploratory investigations of school-based mindfulness interventions to account for the complexity of pupils’ experiences. Such information is considered to be of interest to a range of educational professionals and could help them to assess the potential value of mindfulness-based initiatives for secondary aged pupils. Limitations of the study and recommendations for further research are discussed herein.
Support for the supporters : perceptions of support for support staff in comprehensive schools and the role of the educational psychologistHeslop, Laura January 2012 (has links)
Support staff are perceived to be highly important to schools in Britain (Department for Education (DfE), 2011; Department for Educational and Skills (DfES), 2000). The dramatic increase in support staff within schools has led to a range of roles being developed, impacting on their training and development needs (Training and Development Agency (TDA), 2010a), and those “involved in employing, managing, supporting and training them” (Alborz et al., 2009, p.4). Whilst guidance is available to schools (for example, Training and Development Agency (TDA), 2010c) there is a lack of evidence regarding the forms of support available to support staff in schools, or what is helpful, in order to carry out their role effectively and develop professionally. A qualitative approach was adopted to explore perceptions of support for support staff and the role of educational psychologists. Questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews were utilised to gather the views of secondary school support staff, senior management team members and educational psychologists. Thematic analysis identified key themes relating to enabling support staff to feel supported within their roles, and the role of educational psychologists in working with support staff. Findings suggest that, being valued, included and involved is important to support staff feeling supported. Relationships with other members of support staff and school staff in addition to a school’s overall ethos were identified to have considerable influence on facilitating these aspects. Lack of clarity regarding the role of educational psychologists and their role in supporting support staff was also identified. Tentative suggestions are made regarding how schools might enable support staff to feel supported, and how EPs might widen their roles with support staff. In light of the findings, areas for further research are considered.
Modern Physical Education (PE) administered systemic models of teaching crafts. It atrophied the play element in human nature, and shaped a single-lens attitude to the treatment of bodies. Framing minds, it veiled the conditions of learning processes and thus “instituted” the sovereignty of subjective concerns. It created many unexplained “gaps” between abstract concerns and pragmatic issues. Following language’s poststructural analysis, PE’s professional communication practices were exposed to alternative methodological refocusing from conforming to move to personalise the agent’s experience in moving to learn. In the wake of poststructuralism came Whitehead’s Physical Literacy (PL) which I adopt as “leitmotif” to reform PE’s teacher preparation and schooling practices. PL addresses children up to 14 years. For older pupils, PL’s language needs to constitute versions of human purposes voiced by the introduction of a new development called “Movement Literacy” (ML). ML acknowledges that language and movement are very different forms of “self-expression”. By itself however, self-expression is inadequate when it comes to learning how to learn. Critical dialogue needs to be brought in to facilitate meaningful innovation in the PE world. By employing the philosophies of phenomenology and hermeneutics I make a case that expression in languaging movement [subjecting the agent’s account to hermeneutic treatment] is expression for others, and in exchange with others the expression is redefined, and changes the way one sees and talks about movement and about oneself. In its reflective practice, reverentially, ML will also unpack pedagogy’s hidden protocol, hoping to reclaim PE’s authentic purpose. It connects secular matters with sacred implications by reconciling the polemic differences between “techne” [purpose] and “phronesis ” [prudence]. With limited reference to Eastern “selflessness” ML advances teaching, through pedagogy and andragogy as a life-time mission. Not providing answers, the thesis offers a manifesto attempting to facilitate new questions such as: how can language and movement communicate? and how can movement educators “minister” to their learner’s sense of well-being?
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