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Title: A non-authoritarian approach to secondary school pedagogy : a critical action research project
Author: Warren, Sean Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 2129
Awarding Body: University of Worcester
Current Institution: University of Worcester
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis critiques authoritarian school policies and the pedagogic industry that overauthoritarianism has spawned to manage pupil behaviour. The overarching paradigm has been behavioural, centred on rewards and punishments. As a secondary school teacher I was deemed to be highly effective as an educator and disciplinarian by all objective measures, a no-nonsense, assertive persona championing authoritarian authority. I became disillusioned with this pedagogy of coercion and reached a point of professional ‘living contradiction’. I realised for the first time that the authoritarian teacher might actually be part of the problem, not the solution to poor discipline. I wished to develop a pedagogy in tune with my espoused values, developing positive teacher-pupil relationships which, I felt, might encourage both motivation in schoolwork and the development of pupils’ self-control and self-discipline. This thesis is an account of my intellectual and pedagogical journey to replace my authoritarian pedagogy with a way of teaching and learning based (in both directions) on respect, manners and friendly school relationships which is co-constructivist, encouraging pupils to be deeply involved in their own learning. I evidence the effect of this on classroom behaviour. I defend my relational pedagogical approach through a review of research literature alongside a three year action research with sixteen of my own classes, interrogating my performance to ask ‘Can non-authoritarian teachers contribute towards a well-ordered class of self-disciplined pupils?’ The reconnaissance stage locates this question in the context of my own educational history, the auto-biographical reflection validated through critical friends. The data collection phase used a range of instruments and reflective processes exploring how I wrestled with pedagogical issues when adopting a non-authoritarian approach, how I learned to be authoritative rather than authoritarian, and how I learned to deal with uncooperative pupils in new ways. In order to extend my new approach more broadly in the school, I worked with six volunteer colleagues, both experienced and newly qualified and I evaluate short and long term effects. I conclude by showing that effective pedagogy comes from positive teacher-pupil relationships which provide an effective solution to most low-level pupil indiscipline by establishing a culture and climate of cooperation and co-construction of learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools