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Let the children speak : year 1 children inform cognitive acceleration pedagogy

Robertson, Anne (2014) Let the children speak : year 1 children inform cognitive acceleration pedagogy. PhD thesis, UCL Institute of Education.

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Abstract

Cognitive Acceleration (CA) Intervention Programmes claim to raise children’s thinking abilities. Evidence from cognitive tests suggests that participants achieve a higher level of thinking by the end of the Year 1 Programme and better results the following year in National Standard Attainment Tests than non- participants. However, test results measuring impact neither inform teachers about how to improve their pedagogy nor give any insights into how the children experience being learners during CA lessons. A constructivist approach is used in this two year study to better understand the children’s perspective on learning within the CA Programme. Interviews where children have opportunities to express their personal constructs afford insights into their understanding of learning during lessons. The impact of CA on children’s developing personal constructs regarding what helps learning is considered. Observations of CA lessons provide insights into the way teachers actualise the CA pedagogy and the way in which children respond within the lessons. The participants of the first year of this study are one group of six children from each of six classes - four CA classes and their four teachers and two non-CA classes and their two teachers. The participants of the second year are one group of six children from each of the same four CA teachers. Interviews reveal how the teachers understand what helps children learn. At the end of the first year the four CA teachers participate in a short intervention. This provided opportunities for the teachers to discuss the children’s constructs to inform the teachers’ understanding of the learning process with a view to using this information to improve teaching. Analyses of observations reveal differences in the actualisation of the CA pedagogy in each class. At the end of the first year, analyses of personal constructs indicate that CA participant children participating verbalise their understanding of learning very differently from non-CA participant children indicating that the CA Progamme has made a substantial difference to the children’s awareness of being a learner and their ability to articulate their ideas. Analyses of personal constructs in the second year of the study indicate that the children are more conscious of the CA pedagogy helping them to learn. Also, results from CA lesson observations in the second year indicate that the teachers have made substantial changes to their pedagogy in line with CA theory which gives support to the belief that understanding the children’s perspectives holds practical implications for teachers in order to maximise children’s thinking abilities through the CA Programme. This study adds a new dimension to the CA literature. This is the first time that the impact of CA is considered through the voices of Year 1 children. In addition, the teachers demonstrate improved pedagogy subsequent to listening to children’s lived experience and set themselves personal targets to implement their new understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 02 May 2015 10:28
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2015 10:13
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