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Title: Exploring the narratives of African Caribbean high attaining boys : perceived peer influences in education
Author: Robinson, Tracy Angelen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 5089
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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The underachievement of African Caribbean boys has been the subject of considerable debate and research in education but few studies focus on this group's achievements. Difficulties associated with racial identity and masculinity are amongst explanations offered for African Caribbean boys' educational underachievement and research has also implicated the peer group's contributions to undermining academic performance. This thesis explores the subjective experiences of high-attaining African Caribbean boys regarding their perceptions of peer influences in school. Seven pupils were given two narrative interviews (2 months apart) about their relationships with peers and experiences related to 'peer influence' and the impact they consider that this has on their education and attainment. Interviews also addressed the impact of family narratives on the boys at school. The interviews were analysed using Gee's (1991) structural linguistic narrative approach, which as well as helping to identify narratives also allowed analysis of how the boys performed their identities in co-constructing their narratives with the interviewer. The findings suggest that the boys perceive peers to have some influence on their educational experiences and subsequent attainment. Narratives espoused the positive aspects of peer relationships as being emotionally and practically supportive and helping boys' motivation to study through competing for high grades. They also highlighted that peer distractions could lead to underachievement. Pupils used multiple and complex strategies to manage their relationships so that they continued to attain well. These included strategic self-presentation, deploying resources (e.g. social capital) and utilising support from teachers and family members. Family racialised narratives were found to play an important role in developing racial identity and academic orientation. The thesis discusses the implications of these findings and critically comments on the use of narrative interviews and analysis in research with young people and its relevance to schools and Educational Psychology practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available