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Title: Democracy in the primary classroom : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of three teachers' experiences of sharing decision-making with pupils
Author: Rowe, Mary Geraldine Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 8878
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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There is a call, internationally, for educators to take an active role in fostering children’s wellbeing. Whilst initiatives for early identification and support are important, children’s everyday classroom experiences can have a powerful influence on wellbeing, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This presents opportunities for teachers to re-examine ways of offering classroom experiences that promote good mental health. One such approach is that of teachers sharing classroom decision-making with their pupils. Little is known about the way in which teachers conceive of, plan for and maintain shared decision-making in the classroom. This makes it hard to advise and train teachers on how to develop shared decision-making with pupils and for school leaders to encourage and enable teachers to do so. This thesis explored three primary school teachers’ experience of shared decision-making in their own classrooms. Multiple interviews were carried out with each participant interspersed with classroom ‘go-alongs’ (Kusenbach, 2003). Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Key findings reveal that shared decision-making can be both joyful and unsettling for teachers. They are continually balancing the demands of a highly-prescribed curriculum with the relatively unpredictable directions a lesson can take once pupils are involved in class-level decision-making. Participants reported that pupils’ responses to opportunities to participate in class decision-making were varied, uncovering inequalities between children which participants attributed to upbringing, socioeconomic status, gender and prior school experience. Participants endeavoured to develop shared decision-making with pupils in the absence of models or theory to guide their practice. This thesis concluded that three main areas of development are needed to support increased shared decision-making in future classrooms: a) increased awareness of the practice; b) promotion of ‘teacher voice’; and c) the development of a theoretical framework and models of classroom practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available