Schema theory and the effect of variable practice in string teaching
The research which forms the basis of this thesis focuses on the developing practice of two local authority support services working in primary schools with the aim of changing the nature of provision for children with special educational needs. In the first case study, four support teachers work, half a week each, for one year in a junior school which appeared to have a high number of children with learning and behavioural difficulties. These support teachers were attempting to change the practice of the classroom teachers in this school. In the second case study, the work of four support teachers is observed, as they begin a change of role, moving from centre-based work with children to supporting the children in class, and trying to change the nature of provision for these children in school. Each case study was conducted over one year. The methodological approach was located within a constructivist paradigm. The methods were interview, observation, questionnaire and documentary analysis. The review of the literature, after examining the background to change within special educational needs provision, and within primary schools, goes on to consider issues particularly pertinent to this research, such as consultant and collaborative teaching skills, personal change and interpersonal skills needed for effective instigation of change. These issues support both the implementation and the analysis of the research. The final part of the thesis addresses the issues arising from the research, such as the training needs of the support teachers and class teachers regarding knowledge of the change process and an awareness of theoretical issues surrounding special educational needs, and dichotomies within the approach of the support teachers towards the process of change. The conclusion examines themes which have emerged from the research and which are applicable to current changes in special educational needs provision.