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Title: Emancipatory research with children in Pupil Referral Units : a Foucauldian perspective on policy and practice
Author: Browne, Lucy
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2013
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This critical psychology research is set within current education reform and focuses on children attending Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) in one local authority. A systematic literature review indicated that, whilst there is research into interventions in PRUs, there is limited research into the abilities of children in PRUs or their constructions. To address this, three subsidiary research questions were developed, within the central research question of ‘What are the characteristics, beliefs and Foucauldian themes of children in Pupil Referral Units?’. Mixed methods emancipatory and exploratory research was conducted with 14 children (11-15 years old). Data collection involved cognitive assessment, assessment of their attitudes towards school and themselves, and conversational-style interviews. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and a semantic deductive Foucauldian informed thematic analysis. Findings indicated children generally had positive attitudes towards their PRU teachers, with some negative attitudes towards their competency in learning. Participants were heterogeneous in terms of their cognitive ability, but with a trend of below average verbal abilities. Spatial abilities were a relative strength. Governmentality was concluded to influence institutional practices within education and children’s lives. This served to create and maintain a ‘norm’, thus enabling the ‘abnormal’ to exist. As a result the children self-disciplined, subjectified and problematised themselves against the ‘norm’. This was made possible through relationships. Therefore, the importance of relationships in education is central to the research findings and conclusions. The thesis concludes with reflections on the researcher’s learning journey and plans for sharing the findings to inform practice and policy within education and Educational Psychology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral