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Exploring the potential for early school leavers to have greater involvement in their literacy learning

Larkin, Teresa Anne (2014) Exploring the potential for early school leavers to have greater involvement in their literacy learning. EdD thesis, UCL Institute of Education .

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Abstract

This thesis explores the experiences of both early school leavers and their teachers when a group of eight young people were invited to have greater involvement in their learning. The study is based in a literacy programme within a youth service setting in rural Ireland. The research is situated outside the mainstream school system and this affords a unique chance to see how the young people managed when they were given the chance to have more involvement in their learning, once they had rejected mainstream education. My previous research within the organisation indicates that young people consider that they are capable of taking on more challenging curricula and are keen to pursue higher level qualifications. The study took place between September 2010 and May 2011. The study aimed to develop and evaluate a new approach to a current literacy programme using constructivist teaching strategies which, while supporting increased learner involvement, also offered a higher level literacy certificate. An action research design was used and this thesis follows stages two, three and four of the first iterative cycle. Building on a conceptual framework which links the literatures of early school leaving and the learning theories of constructivism and self-determination, a qualitative analysis was undertaken comprising in depth interviews with young people and staff, field diaries, learner journals, questionnaires and participant observation. Findings show that despite early school leavers having difficult backgrounds, they respond positively when they are offered greater involvement in their learning. This is further enhanced by teacher support and expectation. Findings also suggest that early school leavers have gaps in their literacy skills that need to be addressed when preparing for higher level qualifications. Along with the need for greater learner involvement, it is essential that teaching institutions provide these young people with access to higher level programmes and a structured route to achieving relevant and more useful qualifications. In this way, it is possible to instill the confidence needed to attain significantly higher levels of learning.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Controlled Keywords: Early school leavers, literacy skills, constructivism
Subjects: Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2015 15:22
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 15:14
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