Becoming a Problem: How and Why Children Acquire a Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years...
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Becoming a Problem: How and Why Children Acquire a Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Prof Maggie MacLure, Dr Liz Jones, Dr Rachel Holmes & Dr Christina MacRae. The Aims of the Project.

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Becoming a Problem: How and Why Children Acquire a Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council

Prof Maggie MacLure, Dr Liz Jones, Dr Rachel Holmes & Dr Christina MacRae


The aims of the project
The Aims of the Project Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • To document and critically examine the emergence of problem behaviour amongst children in the Foundation Stage of school

  • To enhance understandings of the processes by which children begin to develop an identity and ‘career’ as a problem in school

  • To inform public and policy debate about behaviour and discipline in the early years

  • To contribute to the development of theory in the field of classroom interaction and pupil identity


The four schools
The four schools Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • A ‘faith’ school

  • An inner city school where over 30 home languages are spoken

  • A school in a ‘leafy’ suburb

  • A school in a relatively poor economic area with a population of mainly white English heritage pupils


Negotiating access
Negotiating Access Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • Respect for persons

  • Permission

  • Confidentiality

  • Consent

  • Negotiation of data


Theoretical framework
Theoretical framework Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • Qualitative study that draws on ethnography

  • Discourse based approach informed by poststructuralist theory

  • Analytical framework also draws on conversational analysis


Research questions
Research questions Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • What makes it difficult for some children to be, and to be recognised as, ‘good students’?

  • How does behaviour become an ‘issue’?

  • How is consensus over appropriate/inappropriate behaviour established and maintained?

  • At what point do teachers and other children start to associate particular children with behaviour problems?

  • How far are children able, with adult support, to reflect on their own behaviour and contribute to productive changes in their own behaviour?

  • How does an act come to be interpreted by the teacher, and recognised by children, as an instance of inappropriate behaviour

  • Can behaviour flashpoints be predicted, contained or avoided?


Methods
Methods Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • Participant observation with an ethnographic orientation

  • Videos

  • Participant and non-participant observations (notes)

  • Unstructured interviews with practitioners and children


The fieldwork
The fieldwork Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • Phase 1 (Sept 06-Aug 07)

  • Observations over a whole school year

  • One day a week spent in each of the classrooms

  • Meeting with the participating teachers so as to examine some of the preliminary findings


The fieldwork1
The fieldwork Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • Phase 2: follow-up phase

  • Tracking the children as they move into their new class

  • Do ‘ bad reputations’ travel?


Analysis of the data
Analysis of the data Reputation as ‘Naughty’ in the Earliest Years at School

  • Identifying themes

  • Developing theories

  • Using existing literature to substantiate and extend ideas


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