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Title: An ecological perspective of children's school experiences and educational outcome
Author: Stivaros, H.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3486 0605
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2007
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An exploration of schooling practices over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries reveals a number of ‘fixed characteristics.’ These continue to have a principle role in the organisation of schooling today and are underpinned by assumptions stemming from traditional psychological theory. Most prominent is the transmission-receiver model associated with behaviourism. This provides a simplistic view of the learning process, locating performance in the individual child or teacher. In this work, learning is re-conceptualised as experience and in doing so, any understanding is rendered much more complex than previously acknowledged. It becomes a wider phenomenon, distributed across agent, activity and world. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model of human development is used to elucidate this notion. To enrich the analytical power of this model, additional perspectives have been integrated to further explore the complex web of proximal, distal and environmental influences serving to shape children’s quotidian learning experiences and development; specifically, notions of metacognition and self-efficacy, Vygotskian psychology and the community of practice literature. In unison, these theoretical lenses seek to provide an explanation for learning on multiple levels: the role of the learner, the intricate mechanisms of the learning process itself and the wider conditions that surround learning. Immersed in the primary school context, the researcher adopted the dual role of researcher and teaching assistant, carrying out ethnographic research over two school terms. Following the day-to-day lives of eight children in Year 6, the research records a multiplicity of factors impacting upon their learning experiences at school. The children’s time in Year 6 is presented in story form and structured using the theories noted above. The research illuminates that the constellation of factors operating in the child’s world is unique to him or her. These combine in idiosyncratic and non-predictable ways with the child’s own repertoire of characteristics, resulting in a different learning trajectory for every child. However, analysis indicates that relationships and participation play a fundamental role in all learning journeys. Recommendations for managing children’s experiences based on this understanding are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1501 Primary Education ; L Education (General)