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Title: Contexts characterised by resilience : an illuminative study of schools and classrooms
Author: Cefai, Carmel
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2005
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This is a school context study seeking to illuminate classroom and school processes underlying pupil resilience in primary schools in Malta. The traditional definition of resilience has been broadened into a more proactive, inclusive and relational construct, relating to socio-emotional competence and educational engagement for all pupils. The main objectives of the study were to describe the processes taking place in classrooms and schools characterised by pupil resilience and to develop theory on how these processes were related to resilience in school. The answer to the research questions was sought through an interpretative, case study, dialectic approach focusing on complexity and contextuality. Three Maltese state primary schools and three classes in each school identified on the basis of a purposely designed teacher framework, were selected as illuminative cases. Data was collected through extended participant observation, analysis of documents and interviews with various school and classroom members. Theory was developed through a constructivist grounded theory analysis of data. Various processes were identified at both school and classroom layers, including sense of belonging, caring and supportive relationships, meaningful participation in school and classroom activities, a collaborative stance in working and learning, commitment to teaching and learning, positive beliefs and expectations, an inclusive culture, recognition, and shared beliefs and values. These processes were supported by various intra, inter, and outside layer contextual forces. Together they constituted caring, supportive, inclusive, prosocial and learning-centred school and classroom communities. It was indicative that the processes were stronger within the classroom context. The study underlined the need to examine both school and classroom layers in seeking to understand pupil resilience, and suggested that while processes at the two layers might be reciprocal and complementary and thus additive, they did not coincide automatically. The understandings and meanings that emerged from the study led to the development of a theoretical model of schools and classrooms as resilience enhancing contexts for all pupils.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available