MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Using attachment theory as a lens to understand the role of an adult educator.

    Quinn, Siobhan (2012) Using attachment theory as a lens to understand the role of an adult educator. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

    Download (318kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    The attachment theory created by John Bowlby has had a lasting impact on our understanding of child development and more recently on adult development. The primary aim of this dissertation is to show how attachment theory can be used as a tool to inform educators about teaching and learning. There is an abundance of literature on attachment from infancy to adulthood, incorporating all forms of relationships. However, there is little research carried out on attachment and the implications for adult teaching and learning. This thesis outlines the key tenets of Bowlby’s theory, while drawing on the recent research studies of leading theorists, to lay the foundations for the study. Concepts such as the attachment behavioural system, secure and insecure attachment styles, internal working models and the strange situation are discussed. The study also explores how adult learners and educators are influenced by their own attachment styles and internal working models and how this impacts on the teacher-student relationship. The paper also looks at the implications for both the learner and educator when handling new situations and new knowledge. In addition, the concept of educational biography and narrative is explored as a means of altering or transforming an individual’s internal working models and facilitating the creation of new knowledge. A qualitative approach was used in the study. Three participants work in the area of counselling and adult education. The fourth participant is a project co-ordinator and adult educator with a children’s charity advocacy organisation. The participants were invited to narrate their stories of their attachment experiences from childhood to v adulthood, which aimed to offer a potentially developmental and reflective space for each participant in revisiting their lived attachment histories. Stories were gathered through the interviews to gain insight into how these experiences play out in the educator-student relationship. The participants’ stories were presented in the form of four core narratives. The narratives and findings were then further analysed and significant themes emerged in the stories told. The findings from this study show that the attachment paradigm offers definite value and useful insights for educators and facilitators of adult teaching and learning.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: M.Ed. in Adult and Community Education; M.Ed.; attachment theory; adult educator; educator; teacher;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 9656
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 11:31
      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

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads