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Title: An exploration of teachers' conceptualization of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) and what factors influence the strategies and interventions they adopt when working with individual pupils diagnosed with EBD
Author: O'Leary, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 9316
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2018
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This research study explored the perspective of 10 primary school class teachers who were working with students presenting with challenging behaviours. The teachers were asked to reflect on five separate but interconnected topics in relation to their role. These included: their understanding and attribution of behaviour and its impact on the school community; their perception of the contributors to their self-efficacy; the interventions they had selected and the process involved in this selection; their engagement with CPD and how this had impacted on their practice and finally their perception of the supports they had received both from within their schools and from external professionals. The methodology selected was a qualitative approach based on the researcher's constructivist, pragmatic epistemological position. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with the participants and the data was analysed and interpreted using systematic thematic analysis based on the framework presented by Braun & Clarke (2006). Interpretation of the data suggested that the teachers attributed student behaviour to external factors which they had a limited capacity to control and which related mainly to biological or environmental influences. Addressing the students' behaviours was reported to have a significant impact on the class teachers and other school personnel. The individual students also struggled to cope within a mainstream school environment at a social, emotional and academic level and were regularly removed from the classroom environment. The teachers reported that their overall self-efficacy relating to their professional competence was high but the current situation had challenged their confidence and sense of efficacy. The interventions adopted by the teachers were both proactive and reactive and were selected on the basis of managing the student's behaviour. The interventions were mainly behaviourist in nature and did not always address the student's need as identified by the teachers. The participants had engaged in limited CPD in relation to challenging behaviour and the majority of the teachers reported that this limited access to training had not enhanced their practice. The schools where the teachers worked had not developed a whole school support system to address challenging behaviour and, while the teachers reported that their interactions with colleagues were generally positive and helpful, this support was accessed in a random, unstructured manner. There was limited involvement with external agencies by the participants but the teachers reported that a consultative approach would be the preferred model of engagement with other professionals. This research study highlighted a range of issues in relation to developing more effective support structures within the school environment and the need for the ongoing promotion of a climate of professional development and the use of evidence-based practice. It also highlighted a range of challenges for the discipline of educational psychology in ensuring that the role of educational psychologists is both influential and relevant to teacher practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.App.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral