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Working with schools in identifying and overcoming emotional barriers to learning

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Publication details

JournalEducational Studies
DatePublished - 9 Sep 2014
Issue number1-2
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)143-155
Original languageEnglish


This paper reports a case study on working closely with a secondary school, to enhance understanding of disruptive behaviour, through the use of bespoke Continuing Professional Development (CPD) materials. This project evolved from the researchers’ previous research on the extent to which teachers believe disruptive pupils can control their behaviour. A notable finding was the sizeable minority of teachers in both primary and secondary schools who appear to be unaware of the psychological underpinnings of disruptive behaviour. That is, that such behaviour frequently communicates unresolved emotional needs, rather than wilful defiance. The current project aims to develop, implement and evaluate CPD resources developed by the researchers, for a one-day staff training day at a secondary school in north England. Prior to training, school staff completed a questionnaire to “audit” their perceptions of disruptive behaviour in school. Following evaluation, the CPD materials will be made available to other schools. It is anticipated that the materials will enable greater mutual understanding and respect for the ways in which disruptive behaviour is perceived by practitioners and school staff. Moreover, they will provide an urgently needed means of facilitating a shared knowledge base and a shared language for addressing emotional barriers to learning.

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