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Title: Disengagement to re-engagement : a journey of self-knowledge for 14-16 pupils in alternative learning
Author: Allan , David
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis investigates the learning experiences of a small group of disaffected 14-16-year old school pupils engaged in an alternative learning environment in the borough of Newt own. It aims to improve the current understanding of disengagement from compulsory schooling through an analysis of the responses of these pupils who are seen to have experienced a renewed interest in learning. I present here an interpretation of the pupils' learning experiences through the metaphor of a journey from engagement to disengagement and then re-engagement. The pupils in the project have been identified by their base school as disaffected with learning and in need of support. Their new environment operates under the umbrella provision of a work-based learning programme for pupils undertaking vocational activities to re-engage them in learning. The thesis utilises a qualitative methodology and through a series of extended interviews asks the following tlrree research questions: 1. What are the principal drivers of disaffection for the research group? 2. How do this group of young people perceive their learning experience? 3. With reference to the specific teaching and learning practices employed, what impact does the chosen WBL provider have on disaffection? The dynamics of the school environment are perceived by many of the disaffected young people to be at variance with the WBL provider. Consequently, the WBL provider is seen to be embraced while the school is rejected. The leaming practices of the school are identified as being problematic due to a perception of: subject ilTelevance, sociocultural influences that impact on engagement and the overall pupil mix, an inflexible structure, weak teacher-student relationships, a lack of pupil agency through a ' muting' of potential voice, and an overall inability to meet the pupils' needs. Ten students were interviewed over a period of six weeks through a process of extended interviews. This enabled a consistent 'freshness' for the data and helped to prevent student disinterest. The research identifies a voice of disaffection in Newtown and illustrates the learning experience of pupils on the verge of exclusion. Through a process of removal from the perceived problematic environment, the pupils release their vocal frustrations and undergo a self-reflective process in order to assess and then reassess their educational experiences. As a result of attending the WBL provider, the school environment is perceived in a different light.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available