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Title: Bridging understanding and action :an exploration of teacher resilience and the potential benefits of establishing peer group supervision in primary schools
Authors: Greenfield, Benjamin Stuart
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: These are challenging times for England’s education community. Set against a backdrop of teacher stress, burnout and attrition, this thesis explores the concept of teacher resilience. Across a systematic literature review and an empirical research project (joined by a bridging document), it asks how we may better support our teachers in the face of on-going challenges, and in doing so help them maintain their motivation and commitment to the role. The systematic literature review addresses the question: How can teacher resilience be protected and promoted? Seven recent, qualitative papers are identified, analysed and synthesised using meta-ethnography. Based on interpretations of key themes, a new model of teacher resilience is constructed. It is suggested that teacher resilience can be characterised as a collection of dynamic interactions between thoughts, relationships, actions and challenges. Teachers’ relationships with key others and the actions they take (e.g. problem-solving) may operate – often in combination – as a buffer, which protects their beliefs about themselves and/or their role from external challenges. It is concluded that, given the right support, teacher resilience can be protected and promoted. Based on the proposed model of teacher resilience, it is suggested peer group supervision (PGS) may offer one way of harnessing several protective factors – support from colleagues, problem solving and reflection & reframing. A collaborative action research project is therefore conducted that addresses the question: What can be learned, and what can be gained, by introducing primary school teachers to the process of peer group supervision? Across two half terms, PGS is piloted with seven teachers from in a single primary school, with a trainee Educational Psychologist (EP) acting as facilitator. The project is then evaluated via semi-structured focus groups. Data is coded and analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Findings suggest engaging in PGS can be a ‘double-edged sword’ for teachers but that the benefits outweigh the costs. They also suggest there is a range of largely controllable factors that mediate the relative success/failure of the process. Specific benefits, costs, facilitators and barriers are discussed. It is concluded that schools would do well to establish PGS as part of wider efforts to protect and promote teacher resilience, and argued that EPs are well placed to facilitate this process.
Description: D.App.Ed.Psy. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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