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  • ItemEmbargo
    Towards neurodiversity-informed understandings and diagnostic assessments of autism and autistic play
    Pritchard-Rowe, Emma; Pritchard-Rowe, Emma [0000-0002-1967-4609]
    The overarching aim of this PhD thesis is to contribute towards a reframing of the way we understand and assess autism, including autistic play, away from a deficit-focused perspective, towards a neurodiversity-informed perspective. This is important for helping us to understand how to improve autistic people’s wellbeing and improve the way diagnostic assessments are carried out in ways that better cater to autistic people’s needs. To address the overarching aim, I conducted two qualitative, interview-based studies involving stakeholder consultations: the Clinician Study and the Autistic Play Study. The Clinician Study focuses on the perspectives of professionals’ who work in a multidisciplinary autism team on neurodiversity-affirmative autism diagnostic assessment. Guided by a ‘neurodiversity-affirmative autism diagnostic assessment’ framework I present in this thesis, my analysis revealed the importance of a holistic, balanced, person-centred assessment that is strengths-and-needs-led. This study contributes to the existing literature by highlighting what a neurodiversity-affirmative diagnostic assessment could ‘look like’, thus giving insight into ways in which diagnostic practices could be improved in ways that align with the neurodiversity paradigm and have the potential to support autistic people’s wellbeing. The Autistic Play Study focuses on autistic adults’ perspectives and experiences of play and diagnostic assessments that include play. This study is split into two results papers: Autistic Play Study Play Experiences and Autistic Play Study Play Assessment. Through adopting a balanced rather than deficit-focused interpretive lens, the Autistic Play Study Play Experiences paper builds on the existing neurodiversity-informed literature concerning autistic play, for example, by highlighting the importance of flow. The Autistic Play Study Play Assessment paper provides new insights into how autistic adults view diagnostic assessments including play, which has implications for improving the way these assessments are conducted. For example, the findings highlight the importance of adopting a personalised or individualised approach. As a whole, the findings of this thesis highlight the importance of adopting a balanced approach in understanding and assessing autism and autistic play, considering variability of autistic experiences, and the importance of understanding and assessing autistic play specifically. This thesis also presents an updated ‘neurodiversity-affirmative autism diagnostic assessment’ framework which could guide clinical practice.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reimagining Education for Peace in the Context of Montessori Education: Learnings from two ethnographically informed case studies
    Ehrenzeller, Carlotta
    For over a century Montessori Education (ME) has offered formal opportunities to provide alternative schooling by placing the child at the centre of learning. In current times of global crises of equity, social justice and holistic wellbeing, it is crucial to critically reimagine education for peace in the context of ME. With two ethnographically informed case studies in a public German Forest-Montessori School and a private Australian Montessori school, this study offers concrete insights into the complexities of how two contemporary Montessori schools educate for peace across contexts, but also how ME contributes to sustaining the violent structures that the approach is aiming to overcome. The research design mirrors the Montessori pedagogy and primarily employs observation and semi-structured interviews with students aged six to nine, teachers and school management, complemented with embodied approaches such as data poetry, reflexive podcasting, and in-depth ethnographic portraits. Notably, the research culminates in the creation of a collaborative peace puppet play and the authorship of a children’s book, *Do You Know What Peace Is? A short story about the meaning of peace*. As a key theoretical outcome, the findings provide conceptual clarity to the core components of education for peace within ME, delineating it as three interrelated yet distinct dimensions of peace. Through the data analysis, a common cross-case theme for each peace level emerges: (A) inner peace as self-actualisation, (B) inter-personal peace as forming relationships, and (C) ecological peace as the ability to recognise the interconnectedness of all. This research proposes that within ME, teaching about (content), for (skills) and through (pedagogy) peace shall be complemented by a fourth, contextual dimension of critically teaching in peace (place-based). Local and systemic social and ecological justice issues need to be highlighted and addressed in order to provide a critical and place-based Montessori education for just peace.
  • ItemEmbargo
    A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children's and Young Adult Literature, Culture, and Media
    De Persia Colón, Adriana
    This doctoral thesis, entitled A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Culture, and Media, is an anticolonial and decolonial analysis of childhoods and youth under colonial occupation in Puerto Rico at the turn of the twenty-first century. As a mixed genre project, this research bridges the personal with larger trajectories through speculative storytelling featuring fictionalized instances and haunting and spectral elements. This research demonstrates that the 1990s through 2020s generation were not—and are not—voiceless or mere passive recipients of their circumstances without agency, but active, central, and entangled participants in questioning, challenging, and changing and transforming their worlds in Puerto Rico and beyond. A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Culture, and Media led me to experiential and archival fieldwork in Puerto Rico, New York, and Cambridge, UK. Guided by the principle of refusing extractive academic research, I employed story and storytelling as political sites, where negotiating sharing and withholding was constant. By employing a walking-with methodology, I viewed the more-than-human world, the histories, and the peoples of each location as co-storytellers, choosing what to reveal and conceal. For my time in Puerto Rico, I visited my schools, higher education campuses, and engaged with personal, family and library archives and silences. During my time in New York, I examined elite education at a liberal arts college as part of a Language Fellowship and made occasional visits to New York City. While on-site at Cambridge, I studied a doctoral experience impacted by the early years of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Dark academia, haunting and spectrality become salient as the thesis progresses. Imagined as a work of literature and art, A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children’s and Young Adult, Literature, Culture, and Media remixes doctoral thesis writing. The project combines the chapter structure of traditional academic books with the craft of story and storytelling to reach multiple audiences. Instead of being led by a question and hypothesis, curiosity, wonder, and process were guiding stars. Like literary works that enrapture us with their profound explorations of the purpose of life and death, this work of art asks readers to go deep and wide like our lives and the cosmos depend on it, because they do. They do.
  • ItemEmbargo
    What makes a flourishing language self? A positive psychology perspective on LOTE learners’ language learning motivation
    Li, Zixuan
    Informed by Dörnyei’s (2009) L2 Motivational Self System and Seligman’s (2011) PERMA model, this PhD research investigates Chinese learners’ motivation to learn a language other than English (LOTE) from a positive psychology perspective (PP). Three overarching research aims were adopted as follows:
    1. To unravel Chinese learners’ LOTE motivational profiles;
    2. To identify the LOTE motivational trajectories among Chinese learners;
    3. To examine the role of L2 learning experience in constructing various LOTE motivational trajectories.
    In recognition of the dynamic nature of L2 motivation, a fully longitudinal mixed-method design was employed to obtain a comprehensive while nuanced understanding of learners’ motivational dynamics over six months. To address three primary research objectives, the study was structured into two phases. The first phase was aimed at achieving the first research objective. In order to present a fine-grained, item-level analysis of Chinese learners’ LOTE motivational profiles, a PP-inspired instrument of L2 learning experience was first developed and validated. This new scale, along with established scales measuring learners’ ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self was administered to 304 Chinese learners studying a LOTE at universities. Qualitative data were also collected during this phase from open questions. Results indicated that Chinese learners displayed prominent ideal L2 selves, as well as predominantly positive L2 learning experience—including emotions, engagement, relationships, and a sense of meaning and accomplishment. In contrast, learners’ ought-to L2 self was relatively weak, exerting limited influence on learners’ LOTE motivation. To better understand the motivational dynamics among Chinese LOTE learners, the second phase focused on the remaining two research aims. Specifically, the sample was narrowed down to a smaller cohort of 29 LOTE learners, with three rounds of data collection over six months. A combination of methods including quantitative questionnaires, motigraphs, Critical Incident Technique (CIT) written reports, as well as semi-structured interviews were used to track the evolution of learners’ LOTE motivation. To address the second research aim, both quantitative data unravelling learners’ self-reported motivational dynamics and qualitative data facilitating an in-depth analysis were adopted. Taken together, four distinct LOTE motivational trajectories were identified, namely *Increased*, *Fluctuating*, *Sustained* and *Decreased*. Each trajectory featured various changes in the ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self and L2 learning experience. Regarding the third research aim of uncovering the role of L2 learning experience in LOTE motivation, both large-scale quantitative data collected from phase 1 and longitudinal data from phase 2 were taken into account. Firstly, structural equation modelling (SEM) was conducted to investigate the interrelation between the various dimensions of the L2 learning experience and learners’ future L2 selves. Statistical results suggested that learners’ L2 learning experience include positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and a sense of accomplishment positively predict the construction of learners’ ideal L2 selves. Conversely, negative emotions negatively affect ideal L2 selves whereas contribute to the formation of ought-to L2 selves. Qualitative data also confirmed the role of L2 learning experience and revealed more nuances. These various dimensions of the L2 learning experience function cumulatively to reformulate learners’ ideal and ought-to L2 selves, and it is through this process that distinct motivational trajectories come into shape. Overall, situated at the intersection of second language acquisition and positive psychology, this PhD project contributes to a more granular understanding of LOTE motivation among learners in China. Innovatively reconceptualising learners’ L2 learning experience from a positive psychology perspective, the research not only provides a holistic picture of Chinese learners’ LOTE motivational profiles but also highlights the significant role of multifaceted L2 learning experience in shaping the overall motivational dynamics. This project also makes methodological contributions by developing a rigorous scale measuring the L2 learning experience and employing a fully longitudinal mixed-method design. Pedagogically, it offers insights into enhancing learners’ LOTE motivation by promoting various dimensions of L2 learning experience.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Demand for Skills Associated with Higher Technical Education in England
    Kuczera, Malgorzata
    Over past decades enrolment in bachelor’s degree programmes has risen steeply. During the same period participation in Higher Technical Education (HTE, level 4/5 technical qualifications) has stagnated at best. There are different, overlapping, but also partly competing explanations for this pattern. There could have been an expansion in jobs requiring the high-level skills associated with degrees (but not HTE) and an increasing complexity of the job content. This changing mix of jobs and tasks performed in the workplace could, in turn, be triggered by recent technologies and management methods that drive up the demand for high level skills. It may also be that an increasing supply of highly educated workers contributes to job upskilling, so that, for example, when graduates (here meaning those qualified at level 6) take an administrative job, they find ways of using their higher-level skills, gradually changing the nature of the job and the expectations that surround it. To shed light on the relative decline of HTE, this research study explores the labour market performance of HTE-qualified workers over the last twenty years in the context of a rapidly rising supply of degree holders and the spread of new technologies in workplaces, across and within occupations. In particular, it explores the interplay between qualifications, the tasks performed on the job and the skills necessary to undertake those tasks, and labour market outcomes. Labour market outcomes are examined using the indicators of employment opportunities and wages, whereby wages are treated as an expression of individual productivity. The Mincerian wage function, explaining wages through a combination of educational attainment and work experience, provides a theoretical framework for this investigation. The research also looks at job tasks and the skills required to perform those tasks to evaluate the complexity of jobs. The analysis draws on three datasets that provide information on occupational skills and labour market outcomes in the UK over time. They include: the UK Skills Employment Survey (SES), Labour Force Survey (LFS), Burning Glass Technology (BGT) data on job vacancies advertised online. The SES and LFS provide consistent worker-level data in different time periods, while the BGT contains information on millions of online job vacancies. The findings point to a worsening labour market performance, on average, of the HTE-qualified over the last twenty years. They show how the HTE-qualified have been gradually displaced from many skilled occupations in response to an influx of degree holders onto the labour market. The research also describes how the growth of employment in more skilled occupations is associated with an increase in the number of graduates in the labour market. The research demonstrates that while on average, the level of tasks performed by the HTE-qualified has been relatively high, they have suffered from a downgrade in terms of skills applied on-the-job. In this respect the position of HTE holders as compared to other groups, and in particular graduates, has weakened over time in some occupations. This trend is observed in skilled professional and technical occupations (SOC major groups 2-3), occupations that have often been prepared for through HTE programmes. One possibility is that in these occupations, the relative productivity of individuals with HTE qualifications and therefore the relative demand for these qualifications fell over time. (This refers to the relative productivity and relative demand in relation to the HTE-qualified as a group with a changing composition, rather than to the changing productivity of individuals over their working lives). The research shows that HTE-qualified workers were particularly likely to have been displaced in skilled jobs by degree holders. Conversely, the share of HTE-qualified increased in semi-skilled trade occupations, in which their comparative advantage was the highest. The share of HTE holders also grew in quickly expanding service sector jobs, in which their comparative advantage was low. The labour market performance of the HTE-qualified varies according to the area of specialisation. Specialisations in teaching and health saw a sharp drop in earnings, and experienced worsening employment prospects over the last two decades which may be related to the introduction of a degree requirement for entry into the teaching and nursing professions. Those with engineering and manufacturing HTE specialisations show the strongest employment outcomes. A case study of the engineering sector revealed that employers in this sector associate more productive tasks with degrees, but under some circumstances they are open to employing the HTE-qualified. While the declining labour market performance of the HTE qualified, relative to those with degrees, is one of the findings of this study, the causal relationships involved are not entirely clear. Drawing on the findings from the analysis of on-line job vacancy data presented in this research, further analysis might usefully include an examination of the factors which encourage employers to prefer HTE qualifications, such as firm characteristics, company geographical location and proximity to universities. The research sought to differentiate between demand for specific types of skill and certain qualifications, recognising that qualifications seek to package skills in certain ways, while individual occupations also require packages of skills. In principle, employers will be interested in skills rather than qualifications, but they use qualifications as signals of the skills which their recruits are likely to possess. This research study has highlighted the potential use of online vacancy data, (alongside other datasets), to capture the subtleties of employer demand in relation to both skills and qualifications. Regularly analysed data of this type would provide, in real time, an important guide for those developing and reviewing programmes and qualifications. More analytical research should allow for an exploration of the extent to which the skills demand of a fast-changing economy can be best met through packaged qualifications, as opposed to targeted training exercises concentrating on individual skills.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Teaching-learning of Sinhala literacy skills in Deaf primary schools in Sri Lanka - A mixed methods inquiry
    Wijesinghe, Thilanka
    The acquisition of literacy skills (reading and writing skills) among the Deaf population has been an age-old challenge worldwide. Anecdotal evidence from Sri Lanka also informs of the significantly limited Sinhala literacy skills of Deaf students. This challenge is viewed reinforcing a ripple effect with Deaf students poor educational performance extending to long term restrictions in societal participation. Identifying the underlying limitations and enablers, often wrapped in contextual complexities, has been viewed as imperative in the quest to minimize or eliminate these context-dependent, educational inequities. However, given the vast scarcity of context-specific empirical studies featuring such educational disparities in the global South, this study aims to understand the teaching-learning of Sinhala literacy skills of children attending Deaf primary schools in Sri Lanka. This is attempted with the intention of understanding the existing education system and identifying ways to promote equitable quality education for the Deaf student population. It answers the overarching research question, ‘What are Deaf school principals and teachers’ perceptions, processes, and social practices that enable or challenge the teaching–learning of Sinhala literacy skills in Deaf primary school children in Sri Lanka?’. It draws on principals’ and teachers’ views of primary school students who are profoundly hearing-impaired and are more likely to use sign language and receive education in residential Deaf schools, where one of the national languages (Sinhala) is the official medium of instruction. Highlighting particularly the importance of a child’s health condition, communication, and context, three conceptual framings; a) the WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health model (ICF) (2006) from the health sciences, b) Berlo’s SMCR model of communication (1960) from the communication sciences, and c) Bronfenbrenner’s work on ecological systems theory (1979), from the social sciences were merged into forming an overall blended theoretical framing, which underpinned this study. Grounded in the ‘pragmatism’ worldview, a ‘parallel mixed methods’ research design, composed of both quantitative and qualitative approaches was undertaken. Since this study took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, a strong pragmatic basis prevailed in its design. Data was collected from 16 of the 18 Deaf schools in Sri Lanka (which met the inclusion criteria) using self-administered questionnaires and these underwent descriptive and correlational analysis. In parallel, telephone interviews were carried out with participants in two purposively selected schools, and thematically analysed to confirm findings and to identify convergences and divergences. The findings obtained from both the quantitative and qualitative strands of the study were integrated and subsequently interpreted to obtain meta-inferences. Both principals and teachers perceived Deaf students as learners of Sinhala literacy skills, however, they described the teaching process as difficult, effortful, and challenging. Views on the Sinhala literacy teaching process revealed elements of ‘equality-based, inclusive’ teaching in Deaf schools. However, whether these were equitable in practice was debatable and highlighted the many dilemmas and enablers the teachers encountered. The most relevant limitations were students having limited language levels, lack of appropriate teacher training, and the inherent linguistic complexities of the Sinhala language. Few social literacy practices were reported, however, teachers were not attuned to these, when compared to the formalised curriculum-related practices. Even though the Deaf schools reported attempting teaching-learning during the pandemic using alternative methods and mediums, the switch from a classroom to a home learning environment highlight learning gaps in the knowledge levels and a significant digital divide across the students families. As potential enablers, the parent involvement and inclusion of digital technology in teaching-learning were identified during the pandemic. In conclusion, while explaining the existing Sinhala literacy teaching-learning in Deaf primary schools with multiple, diverse, dynamic, and complex context-specific enabling and limiting factors, this research provides implications for policy and practice in three aspects. a) at the national level, it highlights a unique Sri Lankan Deaf education journey consisting of unique contextual needs, means, and opportunities. Most relevant is the need to recognize sign language in Sri Lanka, thereby embedding and acknowledging it as a language of instruction. Further, recognizing special education as a component of the ‘formal’ category of the Sri Lankan education system b) at the school level, due to the limited adaptations of the Sinhala literacy pedagogy, the lack of parental support, and the significant teacher training gaps, there is an urgent need for re-imaging the Deaf primary school as an ecosystem with equitable, quality education. c) at the teaching-learning level, given the role and significance of both the Sign language and Sinhala language play, it informs the need for re-thinking teaching-learning of Sinhala literacy skills to a Deaf student encompassing both Sinhala language and sign language as a fluid, hybrid, social practice.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Posthumanist Children: Diffracted Readings and Entangled Beings
    Burton, Lindsay; Burton, Lindsay [0000-0003-3493-3434]
    This thesis productively entangles two literary bodies: posthumanist and new materialist theory, and children’s literature and media. Specifically, this thesis applies Donna Haraway’s diffractive (rather than reflective) approach to understanding theoretical concepts and Karen Barad’s agential realist onto-epistemological framework to the figure of the posthumanist child, which I delineate as a figure of multiple materialities, ontological instability, and paradox that appears across children’s literature and media. As the figure of the child has been theorized in multiple ways across children’s literature theory, so do I seek to theorize the figure of the posthumanist child via an application of posthumanist and new materialist concepts to an analysis of selected works children’s literature and media. This set of texts is diverse across publishing era, medium, and targeted age group, but they all feature child protagonists who are paradoxically both human and posthuman in their material formation, and their ontological determination. This thesis argues that through the posthuman-ness of these children, works of children’s literature and media have the capacity not only to reframe our thinking around theories of the figure of the child, e.g. aetonormativity, but also to reformulate the largely childfree theories put forward by posthumanist and new materialist scholars. This thesis ultimately argues that adult theories—posthumanism, new materialism, and aetonormativity—have as much to gain from posthumanist children and their literature and media as the latter has to gain from the former. This mutually beneficial expansion of both schools of thought, via the figure of the posthumanist child, is a vital next step in our cultural approach to the troubles of our current Anthropocenic era.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Besieged Life: Subjecting Liberal Muslim Women in the War on Terror
    Shareef, Amina
    This qualitative inquiry examines the subjection of young British Muslim women in a northern, post-industrial city in Britain. Research has established that Muslim women are constructed by security policy, popular media, film, television, and the news as abnormal, suspicious, and lacking agency. This racialised and gendered construction limits their access to, for example, employment and educational opportunities, and subjects them to verbal and physical violence on the street. Research has also shown that Muslim women are responding to anti-Muslim racism by modifying their sartorial practices and crafting their amiability, sociability, and respectability. While crucial for understanding the centrality of gender in the production of anti-Muslim racism and its impacts on Muslim women, the existing research has two tendencies that this dissertation seeks to redress. First, this scholarship tends to take a liberal perspective of racism and approaches anti-Muslim racism as a relationship between perpetrators and victims. And second, this scholarship tends to interpret Muslim women’s response to anti-Muslim racism as the creative identity work of affirming, managing, and navigating their Muslim identities. These tendencies mean that a view of anti-Muslim racism as a biopolitical project that exposes Muslim populations to premature death is missing. By premature death, I not only mean the uneven distribution of the loss of life as a result of racism, but also the unmaking of Muslim women as tawhidic subjects—subjects who are forged in relation to an Islamic worldview in which there is no god but God. Put otherwise, this view of anti-Muslim racism recognizes how it threatens Muslim people’s lives as tawhidic subjects. Tawhidic subjects become liberal subjects to protect themselves from actual violent threats to their lives as a result of extreme and everyday acts of anti-Muslim racism. This qualitative study with 76 young British Muslim women between the ages of 12-18 illustrates young British Muslim women’s subjection as liberal Muslim women. Muslim women in my study report self-regulating their Muslimness by conforming to secular and normative models of femininity, citizenship, and religiosity. My study allows me to offer a conception of a figure that I am calling besieged life. Besieged life is a biopolitical subject that faces death on two fronts: a biopolitical front characterized by exclusion from education, employment, housing, healthcare, and so forth and a subjective front characterized by the devitalization of her tawhidic subjectivity. More than just facing death, besieged life is life that faces a deathly dilemma: biopolitical death or death of the tawhidic self.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Challenging Intersectional Racism: A Women of Colour Feminist Account of Chinese Teachers in the Private ELT Industry
    Wang, Shuling
    This Women of Colour feminist research illuminates Chinese women teachers’ experiences and understandings of how intersectional racism has produced and sustained a “chain of contempt” (*bishi lian* or 鄙视链) in China’s private English language teaching (ELT) industry. This research examines the lived experiences of 18 Chinese women who teach English in China alongside foreign White teachers. They reported being subjected to this hierarchical chain established through differences of race, gender, nationality, and language. Foreign White teachers occupied a dominant position due to their perceived desirability whereas Chinese female educators occupied a subjugated position due to both being demanded and disdained. Through critically discussing the affective dimensions of Chinese women teachers’ experiences of this chain—such as fear, anger, and exhaustion—I argue that Chinese women teachers’ experiences of subjugation in the ELT industry are forged through constructions of racial knowledge in China which imagines whiteness as profitable, desirable, and powerful. Over the past three decades, China’s ELT industry has experienced a significant increase in its number of international teachers, who are referred to as foreign teachers (外教, *waijiao*). A rising body of scholarship reveals the perpetuation of whiteness within this industry, examining how race intersects with gender, nationality, and class to disproportionately impact English teachers’ professional lives. However, these studies predominantly focus on the experiences of White teachers, particularly White male teachers, with limited attention paid to how whiteness, as a position of structural advantage, impacts teachers of Colour. This research addresses this gap in knowledge. The study employed diverse and innovative data collection methods. For example, the researcher created and developed *Tucao* (吐槽), a feminist interviewing approach that is culturally sensitive to the Chinese context, and also used an innovative emotion-map-making method, which allowed participants to visually represent their emotions they associate with particular school spaces. Through a feminist grounded theory analysis, this research amplified these women teachers’ voices, constructing theories around their words and ideas. Consequently, the research provides significant insight into the power hierarchies shaping Chinese women teachers’ felt experiences within the ELT industry. The study’s core findings revealed how Chinese women teachers felt like alienated and dehumanised second-class citizens due to institutional ELT practices, which constitute these teachers as exploitable in racial and gendered terms by “capitalist” school managers who make whiteness as profitable. The study also illustrated how these teachers felt dismissed by the mothers of their students, whom they disparagingly referred to as braindead mama fans who idolise, and even desire, White, foreign, and preferably male teachers. These same mothers treated Chinese women teachers more like nannies or caregivers than English-language instructors. Third, this study found that Chinese women teachers felt threatened when dealing with unqualified foreign teachers, whom they characterised as “time bombs”. These indigenous theoretical concepts reveal the critical intersection of race and gender that determines Chinese women teachers’ positions within the ELT industry’s power dynamics, a hierarchy shaped by knowledge around the transnational value of whiteness in China, a product of colonial legacies and China’s emerging position within global capitalism. By amplifying the voices of marginalised Chinese women teachers, this study validates and legitimises women’s experiences and feelings, contributing to the formation of political solidarity amongst Chinese women teachers and their allies. The research sheds light on the challenges faced by these teachers, as well as the strategies they devised for addressing discrimination in their field. A heightened understanding of these women’s experiences can also draw policymakers’ attention to pervasive inequalities in the ELT industry, potentially changing its current status quo by advocating for changes in hiring practices, workplace policies, and regulations. Most importantly, the study highlights the urgency of the need to disrupt intersectional racism in China’s ELT industry, thereby contributing to broader academic discussions on education institutions’ commitment to social justice, diversity and inclusion in the global English-language education sector.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transforming education in an era of climate change. From economic growth to degrowth discourses and cases of eco-logical practices in education.
    Kliampa, Anna
    This research explores socio-ecological transitions in education that seek to problematise mainstream ‘growthmanship’, or, put simply, economic growth policy discourse in education. Building on a growing literature stemming mainly from ecological economists, as well as social and climate scientists on the pressures posed on social and ecological systems by the unbridled expansion of the economic sphere, I examine the role of education policy, programmes and initiatives in this narrative and its capacity to respond effectively to these challenges. In this respect, I ask whether/how education is positioned within a) economic growth and b) climate change discourses. To explore these questions, the research draws theoretically from a critical Foucauldian discourse analysis framework. In doing so, it historicises economic growth, sustainable development and education discourses and their contingent relations. Moreover, the thesis is informed theoretically by critical socio-economic theories of sustainability, like degrowth and other socio-ecological perspectives, which are considered resisting voices to mainstream economic growth models. Having as a starting point these power relations, the thesis draws attention to the complex (dis)continuities of these discourses and their implications for education within a climate change framework through an analysis of education policies and programmes at multiple scales; global, national and local. Voicing innovative, alternative, and creative ways of making the education sector more sustainable, the thesis emphasises educators’ pedagogic practices at the analysis level. In this respect, my analysis reveals the contradictory character of environmental education where questions of natural space, materiality, and social context, weave its fundamental components. The degrowth and post-humanities theoretical frameworks at the analysis level expose the conflict-driven character of this topic, but also its potential to generate spontaneous, creative, pro-social and pro-environmental responses to modern problems through the field of education. It has been the primary objective of this research to find ways to tackle the current socio- environmental issues through education. In order to achieve this, it is crucial to understand the interrelated nature of sustainability politics. We must continue to examine these issues by expressing diverse perspectives and analyzing their power dynamics.
  • ItemEmbargo
    (Re)conceptualising Time and Space in Multilingual Identity Research: A Comparative Study of Public and International High School LOTE Learners in China
    Wu, Xinran
    Prompted by the recent expansion of school-based language-other-than-English (LOTE) programmes in China, this study gives a holistic and multileveled account of the opportunities and challenges faced by Chinese high school LOTE learners in different school contexts through investigating the dynamic construction of their multilingual identity (MI) over one academic year. In this study, MI refers to one’s self-perception as a multilingual and awareness of one’s multilingual repertoire, reflecting an affinity to being or becoming multilingual. MI consists of three sub-components: Experience, Evaluation and Emotion (the 3 Es), and is in constant interaction with the Environment. Developing a greater understanding of how learners negotiate their identities through time and space is crucial for empowering foreign language learning. By examining the non-linearity of MI development, this study therefore aims to address this need by answering the following research questions: 1. How do LOTE-learning students’ multilingual identity evolve during one academic year in the international and public high schools in China? 2.What factors influence their multilingual identity development? Framed by complex dynamic systems theory, the research consisted of a longitudinal study with qualitative orientation. Data were collected in parallel fashion in an international school (n=35) and a public school (n=24) over the course of one academic year. Participants (L1 Chinese, L2 English, L3 Japanese) were high school students (15-17 yrs) who were in their first year of Japanese learning. Multiple methods were adopted to reveal the patterns of their MI development at differing levels of granularity: the students’ mono/multilingual self-ratings and three rounds of Q sorting activities demonstrated group-level patterns while the interviews (six rounds) and study logs (20 entries per student) from the focus cases (International school n=9; public school n=7) revealed the idiosyncrasies in learners’ subjectivities. Furthermore, cross-case and cross-school comparisons gave rise to recurrent themes and factors that shaped the students’ MI. Analysis revealed unique opportunities and struggles faced by the participants as emerging multilinguals and Japanese-as-L3 learners. The findings demonstrated the adjustment, progression and enrichment of learners’ MI, analysing the convergences and divergences in their MI development at both the individual and group levels. It was found that MI was constantly shaped by multileveled internal and external factors functioning on various timescales. Spaces, including the wider society, the school and family provided resources for learners’ on-going MI construction, which were then taken up by the learners, consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly. Meanwhile, interpretations of past experience and expectations for the future also served as essential parameters for the on-going recalibration of MI. Three sets of tensions emerged as decisive for the participants’ MI development, which were the tensions between students’ own and others’ beliefs, their lived pride and prejudices as well as those between ideals and realities. Those tensions, reified and concretised by time and space, had different manifestations and impacts on the individuals, who were not just passive ‘products’ of the contexts, but also ‘producers’, showing agency and ingenuity in self-identification as multilingual learners and users. The findings revealed that both time and space have subjective and intersubjective aspects and one’s construal of time and space is constantly being reframed through the lens of current MI. The two dimensions are entangled and multileveled, synergistically forming an organic site for MI negotiation. I argue that the tempo-spatial context is not only crucial to our understanding of the developmental history, the on-going negotiation and the future tendencies of a person’s MI, but also offers insights regarding how to cultivate a more centralised, durable and resilient MI by providing the identity resources needed through the environment. The Tempo-Spatial Model of Multilingual Identity Development, proposed in this study, can be a useful tool in providing a dynamic, holistic and contextualised view of MI construction by integrating the time and space, which are framed as subjective, relative and interrelated, into the MI construction process. The implications of such theorisation and potential applications of my findings will be discussed.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Magical Girls: Contemporary Girlhood in Children’s Fantasy
    Cheung, Chun Sing
    This dissertation looks at the construction of contemporary girlhood through a material feminist reading of selected children’s fantasy texts about magical girls. My central argument is that these texts deploy tropes of magical power and transformation to prompt considerations of girlhood as constructed by the entanglement of the discursive, the girl’s body, and the natural world. Engaging with critical theorists such as Stacy Alaimo, Elizabeth Grosz, Karen Barad, and Donna Haraway, this study offers close readings of prose and visual media – novels, anime shows, graphic novels, and a picturebook – produced in America and Japan. Chapter 1 reads Kelly Barnhill’s novel *The Girl Who Drank the Moon* and the anime television series *Madoka Magi Puella Magica*, examining the construction of girlhood through embodied experience and discourses about age and gender. Chapter 2 turns to non-normative girls’ bodies by considering questions of queerness and disability in the graphic novel *Mooncakes* and the debates about transgender girlhood in the anime television series *Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!* and April Daniels’s YA novel *Dreadnought*. Chapter 3 argues for an understanding of girlhood in relation to the nonhuman animal and the environment through the lenses of posthumanism and ecofeminism. Through analyzing two anime films and three visual texts about young witches, this chapter explores how children’s fantasy illuminates the question of the animal, oppression of nature and female labour in neoliberal society, and a posthumanist vision of natureculture. The conclusion points out the implications of endowing girls with magic in children’s fiction: these stories make visible how the girl’s body is not only entangled with discourses about being young, female, queer, disabled, transgender, and human, but it also serves as a site of resistance where dominant assumptions about being a girl and a human could be destabilized or, at the very least, questioned. My study thus argues for a move from the common discursive approach to girlhood towards a material-discursive understanding of what it means to be a girl in the twenty-first century.
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    Living with a long-term physical health condition: Young people's perceptions of participation in everyday activities, wellbeing and support
    Fennessy, Rosanna
    The life stage of adolescence and young adulthood is typically characterised by increasing independence and autonomy, setting educational and vocational goals, and a focus on relationships outside immediate family. However, these trajectories may be disrupted for the estimated 20 per cent of young people with long term physical health conditions (LTHCs) such as epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and many more. Despite the different characteristics of these LTHCs, research exploring their psychosocial impacts demonstrates similarities, with young people experiencing reduced academic attainment, worse employment prospects and poorer psychological outcomes compared to their healthy peers. However, work incorporating the narratives of adolescents and young adults themselves regarding their experience with a LTHC remains under-represented in the literature. The aim of the present study was to explore the perceptions of young people aged 16-25 regarding the impacts of, and support for, their physical LTHC. A convergent mixed-methods design was adopted, with self-report data collected via an anonymous online survey. A final sample of 636 participants representing a range of health conditions and education and employment circumstances related their experience of impacts on education, employment, and social participation. They also completed measures of wellbeing and illness beliefs. To conceptualise perceived support, constructs from basic psychological needs theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) were used to explore and measure support for autonomy, relatedness and competence (ARC) across external networks including education staff and healthcare professionals. Qualitative data were analysed using phenomenography, resulting in a nested outcome space across three levels – individual, network and societal, representing the different ways young people perceived the impacts of, and support for, their LTHC. Findings suggested that the typical activities and trajectories of adolescence and young adulthood such as education, employment and social participation are disrupted. This was perceived to impact wellbeing and psychological health and created a mismatch between what participants expected of adolescent and young adult life, and the reality of their experience. This resulted in perceptions of undesirable difference from peers, along with low personal autonomy and competence. Perceived support from networks including family, friends, education staff and healthcare professionals was seen as either improving or worsening the experience of a LTHC. Despite many common perceptions, findings were not universal, with differences according to type of health condition and employment status. Insights from the phenomenography were supported by regression analyses indicating that perceived helplessness, acceptance and support for competence were unique predictors of wellbeing for this group. In addition, the external networks of home and friends remained unique significant predictors of wellbeing for young people with LTHCs when controlling for education and participation impacts, and illness beliefs. This study has contributed to research focused on the lived experience of young people with physical LTHCs, increasing knowledge of impacts across multiple life-contexts and highlighting the importance of assessing and supporting wellbeing in a developmentally unique population. The study has also added to the self-determination theory literature by demonstrating that perceived support from external networks for basic psychological needs is associated with both wellbeing and illness beliefs in young people with LTHCs. The findings have implications for education and health practice. This includes additional training for teachers regarding the invisible impacts of a LTHC, and provision of designated tutorial support to ensure young people’s competence needs are met. Greater focus on psychological wellbeing as part of routine LTHC care, along with improved HCP support for young people’s autonomy, would also help this at-risk population navigate the typical activities and trajectories of young adulthood, alongside managing their physical LTHC.
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    Towards ‘Skill’ and ‘Will’: Using Hope-infused Strategy Instruction in the English Writing Classroom at Chinese Universities
    Zong, Yuchen
    While English learning has been compulsory in higher education in China, there is no precise guidance for teachers to consider how to make constructive links to students’ knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, culturally mediated pragmatics, and so on in English writing. Very few Chinese teachers have employed writing Strategy Instruction (SI) in the classroom and examined how students learn and use strategies, despite a growing body of empirical evidence which suggests the effectiveness of SI in actualising and stimulating writing ‘skill’. Moreover, most SI studies take for granted that students maintain a willingness to engage in writing throughout this development. This raises the question of whether SI could be *even more* useful for cultivating skilful writers *and* empowering them to flourish by actively encouraging students’ ‘willpower’ in addition to their ‘skill’. Therefore, this PhD project tackles both ‘skill’ and ‘will’ in EFL learning, which are conceptualised as ‘strategy’ and ‘hope’, respectively. The latter, based on Snyder’s Hope Theory from Positive Psychology, is a cognitive trilogy comprising goals, agency thinking, and pathways thinking, which are hypothetically underpinned by writing strategies. The project aims to explore the extent to which hope-infused writing SI impacts Chinese EFL students’ ‘skill’ and ‘will’, i.e., writing strategy use, writing output, and hope, compared to traditional SI and normal teaching routines. Questions of how ‘skill’ and ‘will’ reciprocally interact and how individual differences mediate this development are also considered. This study adopted a quasi-experimental research design. Six intact, mixed-ability classes of first-year students from two non-elite Chinese universities were recruited. Two classes (one from each university) were randomly assigned to form the Control Group and continued with regular teaching routines. Another two classes (one from each university) were designated as the Experimental Group 1 and received traditional SI. The remaining constituted the Experimental Group 2 and received hope-infused SI. For each experimental group, there were a total of ten interventional sessions over six months. A mixed-method approach was employed, consisting of a validated EFL writing-specific hope questionnaire, writing strategy task sheet, introspective journal, as well as stimulated recall and semi-structured interview, to generate evidence of 1) quality of writing product (QUAN), 2) frequencies (QUAN) and quality (QUAL) of writing strategy use, 3) hopefulness (QUAN), and 4) processes of hope-building/losing (QUAL). For the quantitative data analysis, two-way mixed ANOVAs were used to compare group differences, while correlational tests were employed to elucidate the interaction between ‘skill’ and ‘will’. The qualitative analysis delved into the quality of strategy use in relation to pre-task planning, mid-task monitoring, reformulation and asking for help, as well as post-task evaluation. It also explored the mechanisms through which one’s hope changed and their potential connection to strategy use. The findings indicated that students who received the intervention of hope-infused writing SI significantly outperformed the control group in relation to both their ‘skill’ and ‘will’. Furthermore, in comparison to traditional SI, this innovative pedagogy demonstrated particular effectiveness in three aspects: 1) improving students’ awareness that writing development is not necessarily underpinned by innate abilities; 2) encouraging them to engage with strategy use in more depth, and 3) enhancing students’ perception that relational figures (e.g., the teacher) are able to help them to develop writing. The project also found a significant positive correlation between overall writing performance and hope scores, while hope-infused writing SI seemed to make the relationship more nuanced at the post-test. This could be explained by a look at the five types of trajectories of students who demonstrated distinct characteristics of reciprocal interaction between ‘skill’ and ‘will’. Individual factors such as metacognitive awareness, learner beliefs, and English writing proficiency tended to mediate this development. The pedagogical implications for this study include highlighting the importance of empowering learners at the same time as nurturing their skills, where perhaps the essence lies in raising their awareness of the linkages between strategy use and (less) successful writing performance. Yet, the development of ‘skill’ and ‘will’ can fluctuate and take time. Therefore, teachers should be cautious of individualised differences, monitor progress, and adjust teaching plans accordingly.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rethinking viewpoints of investigation on global higher education development: Using the case of China to propose an alternative perspective to understand world higher education
    Tan, Aiai
    Although rankings, especially those measuring universities in the global sphere, are recent creations, their pervasive impact on policy making and universities’ behaviours around the world seem to suggest the pursuit of becoming a world-class university has been a global trend in higher education development. However, the single-minded pursuit of world-class status in the rankings may lead to irrational strategies that could undermine the development of universities and limit the ways in which they contribute to society. Moreover, showing a preference for multiversity, the pervasive use of rankings may encourage the homogenous development of universities worldwide. To develop a few national universities into world-class universities has long been a goal for policy makers in China, where the first global ranking scheme was created. A hierarchy by design among higher education institutions under central planning governance seems to have been critical in the national strategy to develop the top universities in China. However, the newly implemented national initiative for world-class university development, i.e., Project DFC, seems to suggest an intention to reform such a governance regime. This research attempts to provide an updated account of the world-class university phenomenon against the background of governance reform in China by a case study in Shenzhen. By including both regional universities and regional government, which used to be excluded, in Project DFC, it seems that a slightly different understanding of a world-class university, the core of which is local engagement and contribution, has been advocated in Shenzhen. By bringing social relevance to the local region back in the discussion of world-class university development, it is considered that the case of Shenzhen may shed new light on the discourse of the world-class university and point to the possibility of a more sustainable path towards achieving world-class status.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Deep mediatization in education: school teachers’ voices using a critical realist ontology
    Ansaldo, Sebastian
    This thesis delves into the multifaceted aspects of media and technology adoption by teachers in schools from Chile and England, exploring their lives, concerns, conditions and characteristics that shape the use, adoption, or rejection of media, platforms, and software. I draw on a ‘deep mediatization’ approach in education to make visible processes by which media (traditional and digital) increasingly permeate various aspects of society, shaping the way people interact and experience the world. However, I argue that the mediatization approach tends to undertheorize causality claims, which can be attributed to a lack of reflection on the ontological underpinnings that sustain such claims. The described ontology neglects the shaping force of reflexivity and people's own concerns as a mediatory element between agency and structure in the relationship between technology and people and institutions. Considering those shortcomings, I adopt critical realism as a complementary metatheory to develop a combined approach in which mediatization can dialogue with critical realist ontology, giving cultural contextual elements and agential power more weight and influence. Likewise, I also consider that critical realism, in its development of reflexivity, has not engaged productively with issues around media and communication, especially in terms of how media contents, infrastructure, and interactive elements participate in the elaboration and stimulus of concerns and internal dialogues. To do this work, teachers' concerns and voices were placed at the centre of the analysis using an approach from within. First as a normative issue, considering that teachers are the core of the educational process and deserve to be heard and included in the analysis of their field. Second in practical terms I follow the idea that concerns are not only a subjective element with no sociological effects. Instead, concerns might also have a direct impact on the material world shaping practices, decisions, inclinations, and tendencies. I also argue that in this comparative study, the accelerated adoption of new platforms and digital tools in learning environments, because of Covid-19, shows that the material circumstances, cultural background, historical context, and teachers' visions and concerns are conditions that enable or impede the uses of those new tools, enabling a causal analysis with an explanatory focus. In those terms and following critical realist ontology, I claim that agential powers influenced by (and influencing) culture matter more in some contexts than in others, which is exemplified by the pandemic scenario. I conclude that there is a current process of mediatization in which structural forces, related to the surge of the EdTech market, are pushing for the adoption of certain technologies; however, that process is highly dependent on reflexivity and cultural and historical context, which conditions causal mechanisms and their effects.
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    Engaging with the wider world in primary schools in England: issues of discourse, pedagogy, and practice
    Mandra, Juljana
    The purpose of this study is to raise issues of curriculum ideology and educational aims influenced by global educational policymaking. The study focuses on the introduction of a global aspect to the school curriculum in primary schools in England, a shift driven by international organisations and endorsed on a worldwide scale as an essential element of 21st-century education. The study examines the pedagogical discourse surrounding global learning at a macro level and how this discourse is recontextualised in empirical practice by schools, teachers, and learners. Theoretically, the study draws upon Bernstein’s theory of pedagogical device, wherein educational knowledge is regarded as a manifestation of social power in the school curriculum. It also incorporates insights from literature on globalisation of education, cultural hegemony, and educational philosophy. The study embraces a pragmatic epistemological standpoint to educational research. Methodologically, it adopts a design-based approach, incorporating multiple and iterative cycles of data generation. Data was generated from all key stakeholders including schools, learners and educational materials published by international organisations. The research employed ethnographic methods comprising semi-structured interviews, video-stimulated reflective dialogues (VSRD), questionnaire, participatory research, and web-data collection. The study's findings indicate that, in contrast to stated educational aims, educational knowledge promoted by international organisations through global learning focuses on mere awareness of global problems and tends to perpetuate a stereotypical view of the world. In school settings, the findings suggest that schools, acknowledging the diversity within their local communities and the wider society, actively endeavor to integrate knowledge about the wider world into their curriculum. Consequently, they often draw on global learning educational materials. This often leads to controversial teaching and critical perception by learners. The insights gathered from learner participants suggest that learners play an active role in recontextualising educational knowledge about the wider world, frequently drawing on their own experiences, which, in turn, shape how they interact with pertinent educational knowledge.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Conceptualising College Phronēsis for Teacher Professionalism: A Cartographic Research Assemblage
    Flutter, Julia
    Working for three decades in educational research on pupil voice and practitioner research in the UK has allowed me to witness, at first hand, the transformative impact that research can have on teaching and learning in schools. These experiences have led to this professional doctorate study which explores the transformative potential of a collegial conceptualisation of Aristotle’s phronēsis (also known as ‘practical wisdom’) as a values-led interweaving of research, professional knowledges, theory and policy offering a new philosophical foundation for teacher professionalism. As a professional doctorate study this research is grounded in my practice as a researcher and educator: it therefore embodies a duality in perspective and purpose that is unique to professional doctorate studies (Burnard et al, 2018). This study’s innovative methodology of cartographic research assemblage has a composite structure incorporating three charts to produce a three-dimensional, conceptual mapping of a tentative conceptualisation of collegial phronēsis for teacher professionalism. The first chart - Mapping Phronēsis Through Research in Schools and Classrooms - is a critical autoethnographic study of my work with teachers, researchers, policy makers and students. The second chart - Mapping Phronēsis and Teacher Professionalism in the Literature - is a discursive literature review of theory, research and policy relating to the concept of phronēsis and the concept of teacher professionalism. The third chart - Mapping Phronēsis for Teaching Professionalism: Co-creating Innovative Praxis - explores a set of published narrative vignettes, authored by teachers and researchers who are co-creating innovative praxis in their own professional settings. The three charts are brought together in the cartographic research assemblage which involves multi-layered analysis, tracing out the complex, entangled threads identified across the three charts. The study’s conclusion proposes a set of recommendations arising from the conceptualisation of collegial phronēsis for teacher professionalism which centre on the role of professional bodies for the teaching profession. It is suggested that these professional bodies should: (1) build collegial phronēsis for teacher professionalism through the establishment of cohesive professional values, collaborative dialogue and partnership across all educational sectors, including further and higher education; (2) create open access repositories for curating professional praxis, research and professional knowledges; (3) develop structures for professional standards and qualifications (including professional doctorate programmes); (4) strengthen the teaching profession’s collaboration with policymakers to inform educational policymaking and (5) seek to raise the teaching profession’s status and trust within the public domain.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Building Connections Through Play: An Exploration of Social Play in Children's Early Relationships
    Goodacre, Emily Jane
    Social play has long been considered a key context for exploring children’s early social relationships, with substantial research exploring children’s interactions with parents and peers. As part of social play, children use verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to create a shared experience with the play partner. These strategies help play partners to build intersubjectivity, or a shared understanding of the play, together. The present thesis builds on this body of research by focusing on how children engage in shared interactions and the influences on these interactions. Over three studies, it explores social play in the context of children’s early relationships, concentrating on the social processes at work when children play with a partner. Using a multi-method approach, where the first study employs qualitative methods and the latter two studies apply quantitative methods, this thesis explores children’s early play across activities by investigating fathers’ experiences of intersubjective interactions with their infants and analysing individual, group, and activity influences on intersubjective communication with peers in early childhood. Across these studies, results show the importance of intersubjectivity for social play and the wide social influences on intersubjective communication in children’s play. Through reflexive thematic analysis of qualitative interviews in Study 1, fathers of 6- to 24-month-olds were found to enjoy bonding during interactions with their infants and preferred activities they felt served a purpose. In Study 2, multi-level modelling of secondary data showed substantial dyadic effects on 6- to 7-year-old children’s intersubjective communication. Building on the results of Study 2 using the same sample, Study 3 reveals interaction effects between dyadic characteristics and activity context on this communication, where the relationship between play partners predicted communication differently across two activities. Together, these findings show the importance of social influences on children’s play with others, including how social play is experienced and how it manifests. They also suggest that viewing social play through an intersubjective lens can inform social theories of play. By exploring social play across play partners and activity contexts, this thesis provides a conceptual basis for understanding the influences on social play and how social play can be researched beyond previous attention to children’s individual characteristics.