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Title: Educational Psychologists' perceptions of early literacy instruction, assessment and intervention : a paradigm shift in the understanding of beginning literacy?
Author: Clark, Derrie Ginette
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 2904
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2014
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This study explores the perceptions of educational psychologists (EPs) in relation to early literacy development, difficulties/delay, assessment and intervention at the ‘beginning reading’ stage. It is particularly concerned with how these perceptions link to the current research based findings. Research over the past thirty years has indicated a shift in understanding of how children learn to read and consequently why they do not learn. There is currently a combination of traditional teaching methods, theoretical models and ideas from new research that co-exist thus creating a maze through which the EP must tread in supporting schools to support children who are experiencing difficulty in acquiring literacy skills. McGuinness (1997) describes a revolution in the understanding of ‘beginning reading’ instruction resulting from an ‘explosion of scientific research’ (p.12) and sets out four principles informing a paradigm shift. These principles are considered alongside prevailing and current reading methods in the context of a scientific revolution described by Kuhn (2014) and mapped to EP perceptions. The current small scale investigation used Q-methodology (Stephenson, 1953), an inverted technique of factor analysis to explore EP perceptions. EP participants were asked to rank order a set of statements (about early literacy/’beginning reading’) from ‘least agree’ to ‘most agree’. The results reflected very diverse opinions and inconsistency in reported practice, the combination of which frequently contradicted the current evidence base. Five factors or word views were extracted. One of these was positioned within a new paradigm of research based practice. EPs linked to this worldview agreed the focus should be on identifying children’s skills and knowledge at the word level (systematic phonics) and targeting these areas in assessment and interventions. The remaining four factors, or worldviews, all fell within the prevailing paradigm, or pre-paradigmic stage, characterised by an eclectic mix of strategies and holistic assessment, often not even considering a pupil’s progress at the word level. The varying worldviews were discussed in relation to the role of the EP and the early literacy instruction literature. Consequently, implications for practice were highlighted. Limitations of the study were discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.App.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available