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    How I can Foster Independence in Primary School Children by Encouraging Choice in Learning

    Corcoran, Laura (2019) How I can Foster Independence in Primary School Children by Encouraging Choice in Learning. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The aim of this study was to look at how I could foster independence in children through encouraging choice in learning. By identifying four ways in which choice can be included in the school day – choice in partner, choice in activity, choice in topic and choice in homework, the children were encouraged to make choices in their own learning in order to develop independence. In both my personal and professional life, I value trust, independence and teamwork and I hoped that through this research study I would also be able to live closer to these values in my professional practice as a primary school teacher. With the purpose and aims of this study in mind a review of the literature in the area of independence was undertaken. However, it was noted that literature relating to independence in the primary school classroom was sparse, and instead was primarily based on developing independence in the transition from secondary school to university. As a result, the researcher narrowed her focus and began to explore literature that focused on choices in learning and how choice can promote independence. Through the process of reflection, the researcher developed a clear understanding of the relevant material underpinning the study area and identified a gap in the literature around which this research is based. This study employed a mixed methods approach. With the aims in mind, self-study action research was chosen by the researcher as the most suitable method for this study. Data collection was undertaken using a combination of methodological approaches including a Post- It survey, a pre-intervention discussion circle, four post-intervention questionnaires (one on each area in which choice was offered), naturalistic field observations and journaling. The sampling strategy used for the study was convenience sampling as the researcher was teaching second-class students at the time, and therefore they were selected as the participants in the study. In total, twenty-one second-class primary school children, aged 7-8 years old, participated in this study. It was planned that two cycles of action research would take place. However, due to Covid 19’ and the closure of the school in March 2020, action research cycle two was not completed. Some interesting insights into fostering independence in the classroom through encouraging choice in learning were highlighted in this study. Findings suggest that facilitating choice in learning positively contributes to the development of independent learning skills among children. Furthermore, encouraging choice in learning can motivate children and encourages fun, flexibility in learning and new experiences in the classroom. However, some areas of concern were also highlighted. These included the short school day and the implementation of choice being organisationally challenging for the teacher, a lack of enjoyment and stress for some children who found making decisions challenging and finally conflict between both peers in the classroom and children and their parents at home when choices are offered.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Foster; Independence; Primary School Children; Encouraging; Choice; Learning; Froebel; Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 13699
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 16:51
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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