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Title: Bridging understandings of behaviour and emotional needs : an exploration of educator attitudes and the affordances of a Human Givens approach
Authors: Thomas, Karen
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Learners who present with challenging behaviours are often conceptualised as a unique inclusion challenge as behaviourist strategies of segregation, punishment and exclusion are deeply embedded within school systems. For vulnerable learners and those who have encountered adversity, such strategies often confound rather than mediate challenging behaviours. Ultimately, this may lead to a range of negative outcomes for all involved. Educational Psychologists (EPs) have a significant role in supporting both learners and educators in managing the challenges the classroom environment presents to them. Central to policy in the UK are two principles that articulate educator responsibility to ‘control’ problem behaviour for the purposes of performativity, but also aim to encourage educators to ‘understand’ behaviour as a potential reflection of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) need. Whilst this may be viewed as a professional paradox, the current focus upon SEMH in schools provides leverage for EPs to embed a more responsive pedagogy for educators experiencing challenging behaviour. Set against this context, this thesis seeks initially to understand educators’ constructions of challenging behaviour. As educators’ perspectives are central to this research, Chapter 1 takes a meta-ethnographic approach in exploring eight qualitative papers on educator attitudes towards challenging behaviour. An interpretation of key themes is presented as a conceptual framework. Concepts of personal-professional reasoning, relationality, school ethos and narratives are presented as interdependent, serving to either support or restrict the inclusion of children with challenging behaviours. It is concluded that EPs should seek to recognise the significance of such factors in supporting educators to reframe problem behaviour and facilitate inclusive practice. Based upon the findings of the meta-ethnography, Chapter 3 then explores the efficacy of a Human Givens approach in supporting educators currently experiencing challenging behaviour. It is suggested that this approach offers educators a conceptual framework through which to interpret behaviour from an emotional needs perspective. iv In this piece of qualitative research, educators from one primary school took part in a collaborative Human Givens meeting to plan support for a Looked-After Child at risk of exclusion. Semi-structured interviews, analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, explored the ways in which this approach helped coconstruct new understandings of behaviour and support needs
Description: D.App.Ed.Psy
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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