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Title: The stain of colonialism : is educational psychology 'haunted' by the effects of colonialism? : using decolonised methodologies to interrogate practice
Author: Wright, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This re-search explored how trainee educational psychologists (TEPs) enact educational psychology on their fieldwork placements for the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology (DECP). This study seeks to reconstruct educational psychology by exploring oppression, power, resistance, subjugation and revolution in relation to identity politics in educational psychology. Applying a postcolonial theoretical lens of ‘psychopolitics’, this re-search examined how psychological explanations of individual pathology ignore social, political, cultural and economic factors. In light of educational psychology’s history of racialisation and colonialism, the ‘hauntings’ of current methodological tools, narratives and assessments are considered. This re-search moves away from Eurocentric forms of knowledge production in educational psychology, towards radical perspectives from black feminism, critical race theory and decolonised methodologies for ‘knowing’ individuals. The methods autoethnography and sharing circles were used with five Year 3 TEPs to collect stories from their placement experiences. The implications of using decolonised methodologies with white participants who occupy spaces of privilege are also discussed. The ‘knowledges’ gathered from TEPs were interpreted into poetic transcriptions and analysed using a psychopolitical framework. The analysis reveals that educational psychology’s history of measurement, comparison, statistical norms and individual differences informs TEPs’ understandings of their work with children, school staff and families. Educational psychology tends to be discussed in relation to individual descriptions of ‘disorder’, largely neglecting socio-political contexts. The emerging themes include: collusion, power, influence and appropriation. Using decolonised methodologies within a Eurocentric context raises the problem of how invested white participants can be in resistance and revolution. This thesis engages with questions around whether educational psychology can be decolonised and imagined anew. I conclude by arguing that, for change to occur, reform at the individual level of the educational psychologist is essential. Finally, I consider implications for future research and the practice of educational psychology.
Supervisor: Mills, China Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.C.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available