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Title: How sixth form students conceptualise their learning dispositions, roles and relationships in the research-based learning culture of a single case study school
Author: Jones, Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 5925
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2018
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The focus of this thesis is the case study of a single, selective school aiming to challenge students to engage in what it has called research-based learning, a pedagogy framed as an alternative to traditional approaches common in most secondary schools. Using a critical realist lens, the thesis aims to develop an understanding of how sixth form students at the school conceptualise their learning in challenging real-world research projects. It presents rich descriptions of practices within the school, based mainly on the intrinsic case study approach of Stake and the open evaluative approach of Bassey, revealing four key outcomes around areas related to student autonomy, the efficacy of different kinds of learner support, student motivation and the achievement of real-world professionalism. First, it reveals that student autonomy can be liberating but also highly challenging and disorientating. Second, it shows that students in autonomous roles generally conceptualise the minimal scaffolding of the school as positive, but also that some students from less open learning environments may need extra support. Third, it demonstrates that students’ motivations are often blends of extrinsic and intrinsic elements, showing subtle understandings of their roles as learners inside and outside conventional curricula. Fourth, it reveals that students vary in their achievement of real-world professionalism within communities of practice, but that some appear to carry out genuinely innovative work that goes beyond merely peripheral involvement. Emerging from these outcomes, the study finds successes in the school’s resistance to conventional pedagogy, but argues there are also ambiguities within its cultural context. It also contributes to the literature on transformative learning, revealing how the transformation at the core of Bhaskar’s critical realism can be seen alongside Mezirow’s idea of personal growth to indicate ways in which learners undergo change and simultaneously generate change in institutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LA0173 Higher education