04 SES 06 B, Effective Provision: Improving Education
Parallel Paper Session
It is generally accepted that social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD) present a significant barrier to effective participation within education for children across the world. This paper presents the initial findings of a research and development project conducted within two Scottish local authorities evaluating a social constructivist group work approach to supporting such children, building upon a previous study (Mowat, 2010). The study explored the proposition that, in order to effect changes in behaviour, children need to develop intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences (Gardner, 1999).
The current study was sponsored by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The study operated across three projects: Primary 6 [age 9-10], the transition from Primary to Secondary school [age 11-12], and Secondary 2 [age 12-13]. Six Clusters of schools participated within the study. Each cluster consisted of a Secondary school and one, two or three of its Associated Primaries. The study population constituted 66 pupils, drawn from across the three projects, and matched to a further 66 comparator pupils who were considered not to be experiencing SEBD.
Pupils were nominated on the basis that they were experiencing difficulty in coping with the norms of school life and/or were considered to be at risk of developing SEBD. The intervention consisted of a weekly session of around 50 minutes for 16 weeks and there were three or four pupils within each group, led by a Support Group Leader. The Support Group Leaders received four days of training and were supported through Cluster Meetings, a website and regular Newsletters. The approach seeks to promote intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence through the application of the Teaching for Understanding Framework (Perkins, 1993). Pupils participated within activities which were designed specifically to promote discussion and reflection and to teach for understanding and for transfer.
The principal focus of the study was to ascertain the efficacy of the approach and to identify variables which impacted positively or negatively upon pupil progress as a means of identifying factors which promote inclusive practice when working with children experiencing SEBD, in line with the principles of the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994) with its emphasis upon inclusion and participation as being essential to human dignity and human rights. The study also sought to explore issues pertaining to the management of change and leadership, pedagogy and the transition between Primary and Secondary schooling.
- To what extent, if any, have pupils developed further, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences?
- To what extent, if any, has this impacted upon the pupils’ capacity to regulate their behaviour with good judgement in a range of contexts; capacity to form and maintain effective interpersonal relationships and for empathy; self-esteem and confidence and learning dispositions?
- What are the variables which have impacted upon pupil progress?
- What can be learned from the study to inform understanding of the management of change and leadership?
- What can be learned from the study to inform understanding of pedagogy; the transition from Primary to Secondary; and the inclusion of pupils experiencing SEBD in mainstream schools?
Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. New York: Basic Books. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. (2006). How good is our school? The Journey to Excellence. King, N., & Horrocks, C. (2010). Interviews in Qualitative Research. London: SAGE. Mowat, J.G. (2010). The inclusion of pupils perceived as having SEBD: Affordances and Constraints. International Journal of Inclusive Education. 14(6), 631-648. Perkins, D. (1993). Teaching for Understanding. American Educator, 17(3), 28-35. UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca Statement.
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