Pupil adjustment to a change of primary school
This ethnographic study of the strategies used by pupils in their adjustment to a new class after an individual move to a new school partway through a term considered 30 pupils aged 8-11 entering a Primary School run by the Service Children's Education Authority during the course of an academic year. Previous research suggests that whilst there may be little statistical effect on educational attainment of even frequent changes of school, there are pupils whose attainment seems adversely, and others beneficially, affected. Attempts to associate these pupils with such factors as age at or frequency of moves, socio-economic status or IQ levels have proved unsuccessful. This study utilises the notion of 'coping strategy' as put forward by Hargreaves (1978) and Pollard (1982) to investigate the hypothesis that it is the difference in the strategies that the pupils use that enables some to cope effectively and even benefit from changes of school whilst others appear to suffer. In order to consider the hypothesis this study puts forward an entirely new model of strategies and their use and significantly amends the Hargreaves/Pol lard model of the contexts of constraint. A process of 'progressive focus' is suggested whereby these contexts can be interrelated, individual actions in the classroom can be identified as strategies and linked to goals in progressively wider spheres, and the effect of ineffective strategies can be recognised. Using this model the study: * suggests that pupil adjustment is affected by both their strategies and their goals and provides a description of this process. * suggests that it is not possible to link a simple typification of strategies to any aspect of adjustment * describes the way in which the strategy use of transient pupils could enable them to make higher or lower attainments than their static peers * points to the prevalence of pupil goals in the societal sphere and puts forward a notion of 'radical coping' that explains teachers' serious concerns about the adjustment of some pupils. The basis of teacher interventions with their new pupils is considered and ways in which the model could be used by teachers and parents to assist new pupils in the process of adjustment are put forward. The model, although derived from the situation of new pupils, presents a way in which classroom interactions as a whole could be considered and therefore contributes to a wider understanding of pupil actions and teacher effectiveness.