14 SES 09 A, Navigating Educational Journeys: School Transitions in New Zealand, Scotland and Sweden
This paper draws from a longitudinal study of educational transitions in one Scottish local authority area undertaken between 1997 and 2010. The study explored the educational transitions of 6 classes of primary school entrants which comprised 150 children entering 4 schools. Initially the experience of twenty-eight of these children was studied in depth through observation, assessment, teacher records and parent and teacher interviews. Observation visits were undertaken in 8 preschool (n=56) and 6 primary school (n=53) settings with a focus on play and learning experiences and environments, pedagogy, curriculum and relationships. Subsequently the transition of children from these six classes into secondary education and their experiences there were studied as new secondary-appropriate methodologies evolved, including personal journals, focus groups, survey, sorting tasks and standardized scales. The resulting child level data give a rich insight into the experiences of children and young people as they travel their educational journeys during 14 years of schooling. This is complemented by adult-level data and by systems level data. The early phase of the research focused on the question “Are continuity and progression at times of transition relevant to children’s educational opportunities and achievements?” It was found that children’s agency, parental participation and teacher collaboration (Dunlop, 2003) are important factors in effective early childhood transitions. In the secondary phase of the study the focus was on identity, coping, relationships, environments and parent and teacher perspectives. Using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory (2005) as a framework it became clear that new theoretical interpretations and frameworks for understanding educational transitions are needed (Schlossberg, 2009; Christensen, 2010; Sameroff, 2011). Emerging concepts of transitions capital, readiness, ease and networks are explored (Dunlop, 2014). Finally study participants will be approached with an invitation to reflect on the outcomes of the study in which they were involved throughout their schooldays.
Bronfenbrenner, U (2005) (Ed) Making Human Beings Human. Bioecological perspectives on Human Development. London: Sage. Christensen, J (2010) Proposed Enhancement of Bronfenbrenner’s Development Ecology Model, Education Enquiry, 1, 2, 117-126 Dunlop, A-W. (2003a). Bridging early educational transitions in learning through children’s agency. Transitions. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, Themed Monograph Series, 1, p. 67-86. Dunlop, A-W. (2003b). Bridging Children’s Early Education Transitions through Parental Agency and Inclusion. Education in the North. P.55-6 Dunlop, A-W. (2003c). Bridging Children’s Early Education Transitions through Teacher Collaboration. Peer reviewed paper, New Zealand Association for Research in Education and Australian Association for Research in Education Joint Conference, Auckland, Dunlop, A-W (2014) Thinking about Transitions - one Framework or many? Populating the theoretical model over time. In Perry, B, Dockett, S and Petriwskyj,A (editors) Starting School: Research policy and practice. Springer Sameroff, A (2009) (Ed) The Transactional Model of Development: How Children and Contexts Shape Each Other. Washington: American Psychological Association Schlossberg, N K (2011) The Challenge of Change: the Transitions Model and its applications. Journal of Employment Counseling, 48, 159-162
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