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Title: Student voices : a study of the transfer, early experiences and inclusion of students in a further education college involving students as co-researchers
Author: Shearer, Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 7392
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2005
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This study is concerned with the transfer and early experiences of a group of students at a Further Education College. They are a specific group of post sixteen students in their first year at college, who are studying on a bridging course and have left school with insufficient formal qualifications to transfer directly to a mainstream course, or need to develop life and social skills. The study seeks to identify sources of help which the students drew on in making the choice to come to college, and what they hope to gain from attendance. Initial perceptions about the teaching and support they are receiving at college are explored. In addition, investigation into differences between school and college is undertaken. A further area of enquiry was to find out if the label of special educational needs was meaningful to this group of students. The study also investigates whether the students felt positive about their early experiences of college life. Most of these areas of enquiry feed into the picture of inclusion in the college which was an important theme of the study. It seemed fundamental to try to find out if the operation of the course promoted inclusion within the college. The interviews took place at two points in time; in the autumn term and again in the summer so that changes over time could also be explored. In both interviews students expressed very positive views of life in college, particularly in relation to experiences in school. In college, the students felt respected, valued and secure. Their main source of help in choosing college proved to be their parents. Responses to discussion of the special needs label were varied with more negative than expected views emerging. In terms of the main theory of concerns about inclusion, the material is fascinating. It became apparent that the students felt included and safe within the parameters of their bridging course, and even at times over-protected. Clearly, however, there are issues about their inclusion in college in the widest sense. The epistemological position taken is a social constructivist and phenomenological one as the study explores life at college as these students comprehend it to be, taking into account their different experiences, perceptions and beliefs. The methodology is largely based on a grounded theory approach both in terms of the design and analysis, and adopts a case study approach. A distinctive and unusual feature of this study is the use of student co-researchers who were in their second year at college. Details of their role and involvement will be discussed in some detail.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available