Exploring the potential contribution of educational psychology to the promotion of community cohesion

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology

  • Authors:
  • Leanne Jackson Taft

Abstract

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) calls for education to prepare children for "responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin" (UN, 1989, p.9). This thesis examines the potential role of Educational Psychologists (EPs) in addressing the UNCRC call to promote community cohesion through their work in schools. A systematic review of recent international research into the effects of psychology-based educational approaches promoting community cohesion was undertaken. The review, structured by the PRISMA framework, identified 13 studies examining the effects of approaches to community cohesion. Analysis of these studies yielded insight into approaches to community cohesion, which may be best promoted through educational approaches that have both knowledge and process-based components and through a multi-level approach, which takes into account the individual and their relationships as well as the relationships between community groups and the individual's participation in their community. An empirical study with an Educational Psychology Service (EPS) in the North West of England was undertaken. This consisted of an Appreciative Inquiry cycle of four focus groups exploring ways in which an EPS could envisage promoting community cohesion. Findings from the empirical study suggest that an EPS supporting community cohesion is facilitated by aspects of current EP practice including values and by EPs knowing their school communities. EPs reflecting on their own positionality regarding community and culture may also be a facilitator. Dissemination to EP practice was considered, both at the research site as well as within the profession more generally. A multi-level approach was generated in which dissemination to practice through journal publication, conference presentations and continued contribution to a working group of regional EPSs was planned alongside dissemination through the design and delivery of training packages for schools. Deliberation over whether adopting a children's rights-based approach could help to maintain focus on community cohesion through times of changing government priorities was discussed.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date31 Dec 2018