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Title: An Exploration of Some of the More Intangible Aspects of a School Facing Challenging Circumstances
Author: Kok, Yasmyn Jane
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2009
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Abstract:
This dissertation centres on a school facing challenging circumstances in Norfolk. The school has a poor reputation locally and low examination results compared to national figures and other local schools, but, despite this, the school is a welcoming and pleasant place. This dissertation explores this apparent paradox between the schooPs reputation and measured performance and the lived experience of staff and students by asking participants to use photographs to talk about what they thought was 'special' about the school. Twenty seven Year 8 students and seven teachers were involved as participants in this research. Student participants were asked to create individual mind maps about the things they considered 'speciaP about the school, then in six self-selected groups they were asked to photograph these 'special' aspects. The students were later interviewed in their groups with their mind maps and photographs to elicit their views. The teacher participants took photographs and were then interviewed individually. All participants were asked not to take photographs of people. It was found that the differing methods of research sometimes produced contrasting ideas, however; 'people' were identified most consistently as being a 'special' aspect of the school. Students valued their friendships while teachers valued the support of their colleagues both past and present. There was some contrast, however, in how students and teachers viewed the relationships they shared with each other; teachers tended to view these more positively. Other aspects of the school that were considered 'special' were: sport, school meals, the success of students, although this was not always measured conventionally, and aspects of the environment in which the school was set. Photographs were found to possess a powerful duality in enabling participants to talk about both what was visible in the images and also what was invisible. This was enhanced by some participants who developed creative and inventive ways of representing people in their photographs without transgressing the 'no people' rule imposed by the researcher. In addition to this there was an undercurrent of non-vocalised data, which indicated the effort and commitment some participants gave to this research. This dissertation ends with a consideration of the research methods and their effectiveness in exploring some of the more intangible aspects of this and other schools facing challenging circumstances.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: EdD Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.514295  DOI: Not available
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