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Title: An exploration of unconscious operations and group mentalities in mathematics lessons in a secondary state school in England
Author: Silverman, Joyce Faith
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 1390
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This study employs an object relations psychoanalytic framework to examine occurrences of unpredictable and disruptive episodes in mathematics lessons involving a sample of pupils aged 12-16 with a broad range of mathematical attainment and sociocultural backgrounds. Data were collected over a three-year period by participant observation. I engaged in ongoing psychoanalytically-informed reflection as I recorded field notes of my teaching and carried out pupil interviews. Data were analysed using a methodology derived from Klein's basic principles of object relations theory and the extensions to Klein's theory formulated by Bion in his observations of groups. The results relate to formal and informal classroom interactions at individual, subset and whole class levels and are presented in a format informed by autoethnography. The findings generate new knowledge concerning the unconscious aspects of my beliefs and actions associated with teaching, the relationships I developed with pupils, and pupils' expressions of affect as they participated in my mathematics lessons. Teacher-pupil relationships incorporated many of the anxieties, defence mechanisms and emotions highlighted in Klein's conceptualisation of the mother-infant relationship. Pupil learning and attainment were shaped by individual expressions of defence mechanisms and the manifestation of subset and whole group mentalities that emerged as collective defensive responses to various anxiety determinants. The efficacy of the co-construction of mathematical knowledge seemed to be mediated by the unconscious operation of projective identification and dependent on the extent to which I was able to contain pupils' anxieties and gratify their needs for love and affection.
Supervisor: Rodd, M. ; Reiss, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available