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Engaging learners in underachieving locales: A socio-cultural approach to pupil motivation

Birdsey, Nicola ORCID: 2014. Engaging learners in underachieving locales: A socio-cultural approach to pupil motivation. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study employs a sociocultural lens to explore differential academic achievement at the institution, classroom and individual plane of analysis within an ‘underachieving’ locale in Wales. Sociocultural approaches to learning view cognitive processes as being embedded within social events and mediated by cultural activity, best understood in its historical context. This study investigates why some children succeed academically in school and others do not in an underachieving locale. Attention is paid to the context of the school, the classroom and individuals’ understanding of tasks. The sample comprises 213 children from four schools, specifically chosen to represent higher achieving and lower achieving institutions, with eight classes across two year groups (Year 6 and Year 2). Within each classroom ‘central’ and ‘peripheral’ learners were identified. Multiple methods, including standardised national SATs assessments, questionnaires, interviews and specifically designed research instruments were used to investigate children’s academic performance and their broader social and cultural views and experiences of learning. Findings suggest that classroom culture influences pupils’ motivation to learn and their potential educational achievement. In comparison to ‘peripheral’ learners, the children identified as ‘central’ participants were able to identify problems according to school-related abstract concepts. Schools and teachers can indeed make a difference.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2024 14:52

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