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Title: Engaged voices? : an exploration of the development of learner identity
Author: Beaton, Mhairi Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 4153
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Jenkins refers to identity as the 'touchstone of our times' (Jenkins 1996: 8) but identity is an ill-defined concept. Much has been written about learner identity within schools but fewer studies have explored the children's own perceptions of learner identity. This ethnographic project was based in a primary school working with a group of seven and eight year old pupils and explored the complexity of pupils' identities and how developing identities influence pupil career (Pollard, 1985). Underpinned by a symbolic interactionist view of the development of identity (Mead, 1934; Blumer, 1969), data collection included observation, video recording of classroom interactions and semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis of these rich data sought to explore the constitution, construction and function of learner identity. Most of the pupils were able to articulate their current learner identity but some pupils found it challenging to articulate their learner identity. Shih's (2004) models of 'coping' and 'depleting' are contrasted to provide insight into how different pupils respond to the development of their learner identity. The pupils utilised social interactions both within and outside the classroom to construct their learner identities. Pupils claimed agency in whether they accepted or rejected these messages from their interactions with people and activities in the classroom. The pupils did not generally value the direct messages communicated from their classroom teachers. Reasons for this situation were given including the use of praise by some teachers as a form of feedback. The pupils did not normally privilege the potential messages inherent within formative assessment practices in their classrooms. Instead, the pupils used messages available through classroom organisational practices such as ability grouping. An exception to the pupils' rejection of teachers as a source of information was the art teacher. This exception allowed analysis of how teachers might interact with pupils to facilitate the construction of secure learner identities which allow pupils to make informed decisions about future learning. Ryan and Deci's (2000) framework of competence, relatedness and autonomy was used to analyse why the pupils valued messages from him. iv The thesis concludes with a discussion of the implications for policy makers, practitioners and those involved in initial and continuing professional development for teachers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Learning ; School children