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Title: The ones we never see : parents of supported learners
Author: Morris, Lynda
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1993
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This study examines the issues which arise for the parents of 'supported learners' in schools when they try to understand and become involved in their children's learning difficulties. 'Supported learners' are defined as those children in ordinary schools whose learning difficulties are not so serious that they need to be, in the British context, 'recorded/statemented', but who nevertheless fail to achieve as well as expected and therefore need 'learning support'. This thesis takes as its starting point that, despite the growing encouragement for parents to become involved in their children's learning and in schools, the parents of 'supported learners' are often 'the ones we never see'. The theoretical base of the study is ecological. The study was conducted in two settings: Aberdeen, Scotland; and Fort Collins, Colorado. The findings are based largely on interviews with 36 parents and 19 teachers in Aberdeen and 29 parents and 23 teachers in Fort Collins. Administrators in both settings were also interviewed. Sociometric data, estimates of self-esteem and observation data are also used to build up case studies of six children. The cross-cultural dimension of the study allowed mutual insight into the issues involved. The language and terminology of 'special education' are reviewed first and this is followed by an analysis of the main policy initiatives and practices in both settings. We then turn more specifically to some of their implications for parents and review some of the research literature which has examined the roles parents have played as 'special education' has evolved. An account is then given of how the methodology of the study allowed the researcher to 'listen' to parents. The parents' 'messages' are then outlined: first through a descriptive analysis of the findings; second through the six case studies; and third through the conceptual analysis which is the heart of the study. Broadly, it argues that parents of 'supported learners' fail to 'engage' in their children's learning because of three sets of obstacles. They find it difficult to make the Critical Compromises which would allow them to see their child positively as a learner; they find it difficult to make the Critical Connections which would allow them avenues to schools and teachers; and they lack many of the Critical Competencies which would allow them to communicate their problems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available