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Title: The adolescent school pupil, psycho-social theory and practice, and the construction of a pedagogy of discipline in Britain, 1911-1989
Author: Burchell, Andrew David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 4875
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis argues that ideas about adolescence, and the types of discipline that this age-group required, evolved considerably across twentieth-century Britain; with schools functioning as key sites, and teachers as principal agents, for fashioning and disseminating these. I argue, in particular, that the period was characterised by the emergence of what I term a 'pedagogy of discipline', in which teachers came to view discipline as bound together with the fabric of the school itself and its relations with the wider community. This was achieved in several ways. Firstly, through the ideas circulating around adolescence, beginning with the publication of the first British text to popularise the study of the life-stage in 1911. Secondly, through the shifting balance between sociological, psychological and the psycho-social models for understanding adolescents and their needs in school. And finally, through the way in which the landscape beyond the classroom was mobilised - or failed to be mobilised - in debates over why adolescents behaved in the way that they did. However, I contend that the emphases on these different strands shifted over the course of the period. The early-twentieth-century and inter-war focus was largely on the adolescent as a psychological category, and this drove a heavily reformist agenda concerning access to secondary education. The mid-century period (c.1945-1972) witnessed a greater focus on the sociology of the adolescent. Following scholars in the history of the social sciences, most notably Mike Savage, I argue that the diverse range of social-scientific research in this period contributed to an interest in the 'landscape', and, more significantly, influenced teachers to develop popular sociological and ethnographic understandings of their pupils. Lastly, the Raising of the School Leaving Age (RoSLA) in 1972 oversaw a shift towards more quantitative efforts to measure adolescent behaviour. This went together with a more behaviourist trend in psychology, and particularly social psychology, which stressed the school as a 'system' for containing the adolescent. This contributed to pedagogical literature in this later half of the century, and culminated in the 1989 Elton Inquiry into Discipline in Schools (EIDIS) which serves as the thesis' end-point. The thesis is structured around these chronological changes over time, and the shifts in the various actors' perceptions of both adolescence and discipline which facilitated them. It concludes with two chapters that seek to place these developments in wider context. The first of these analyses school log-books (kept by headteachers) from across the period as a whole; while the second concentrates on a specific moment in the early-1960s in which adolescents' own views on their lives, and even on discipline itself, were sought and elicited by interested groups. It argues for the importance of examining these as memoirs of socialisation, but also considers them as sources composed in the context of a particularly liberal pedagogy of discipline. I suggest that those pedagogies of discipline are connected to the shift towards supposedly more 'progressive' educational practices that several historians of education have identified as emerging to the forefront during the twentieth century under the impetus of left-leaning politics and child-centred psychological theories. But I argue that thinking through the framework of discipline - as opposed to curricular content or practices - can contribute to a reassessment of these trends. In particular, examining developments beyond the 1960s suggests that so-called 'progressive' theories and practices from earlier in the century have enjoyed strange afterlives in the behaviourist 'systems' processes to discipline that increasingly veered towards more Foucauldian and governmental practices as the twentieth century progressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LC Special aspects of education