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An ecological perspective of children's school experiences and educational outcome

Stivaros, H. (2007) An ecological perspective of children's school experiences and educational outcome. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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        Abstract

        An exploration of schooling practices over the nineteenth and twentieth
        centuries reveals a number of ‘fixed characteristics.’ These continue to have a
        principle role in the organisation of schooling today and are underpinned by
        assumptions stemming from traditional psychological theory. Most prominent is
        the transmission-receiver model associated with behaviourism. This provides a
        simplistic view of the learning process, locating performance in the individual
        child or teacher. In this work, learning is re-conceptualised as experience and
        in doing so, any understanding is rendered much more complex than previously
        acknowledged. It becomes a wider phenomenon, distributed across agent,
        activity and world. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model of human
        development is used to elucidate this notion. To enrich the analytical power of
        this model, additional perspectives have been integrated to further explore the
        complex web of proximal, distal and environmental influences serving to shape
        children’s quotidian learning experiences and development; specifically, notions
        of metacognition and self-efficacy, Vygotskian psychology and the community
        of practice literature. In unison, these theoretical lenses seek to provide an
        explanation for learning on multiple levels: the role of the learner, the intricate
        mechanisms of the learning process itself and the wider conditions that
        surround learning.
        Immersed in the primary school context, the researcher adopted the dual role of
        researcher and teaching assistant, carrying out ethnographic research over two
        school terms. Following the day-to-day lives of eight children in Year 6, the
        research records a multiplicity of factors impacting upon their learning
        experiences at school. The children’s time in Year 6 is presented in story form
        and structured using the theories noted above. The research illuminates that
        the constellation of factors operating in the child’s world is unique to him or her.
        These combine in idiosyncratic and non-predictable ways with the child’s own
        repertoire of characteristics, resulting in a different learning trajectory for every
        child. However, analysis indicates that relationships and participation play a
        fundamental role in all learning journeys. Recommendations for managing
        children’s experiences based on this understanding are discussed.

        Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
        Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
        L Education > L Education (General)
        Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
        Depositing User: Sara Taylor
        Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2008 15:59
        Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:23
        URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/959

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