• A rich portrait of the non-violent resistance multi-parent therapeutic programme

      Day, Elizabeth Mary (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-06)
      Non-violent resistance group therapy is an innovative way of working with parents whose children are violent and out of control. The programme brings about change on a number of levels, some of which were beyond our expectations. This research aims to both look into the clinical practice and to develop a research method which can do it justice. My aim was to research into those areas which are ‘felt’: beyond the known and the written about. In order to do this I take aspects of the research method portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot and Hoffmann Davis, 1997) and bring them together with rich description, rich pictures and arts research practices, so as to create a new qualitative inquiry method which I call ‘rich portraiture’. I describe the development of rich portraiture as a research method and show how I applied it to my practice. At the heart of my dissertation is a complex and layered rich portrait which inquires into the particular experiences of the facilitators of and participants in this groupwork programme (Day and Heismann, 2010). Rich portraiture draws on the performative abilities of clinicians: music, poetry, film, quilt making, painting, dance, sculpture, writing. Detailed narrative portraits of participants and facilitators are located in their social and political context and combined with a juxtapositioning of performance and text which moves into that tacit dimension in which we know more than we can tell (Polanyi, 1966). This is ‘performance in use’ (Cho and Trent, 2009, p 1). My preferred performance method is painting. I made artworks which resonated with the lived experiences of the facilitators and parents who participated in the non-violent resistance therapy programme. As additional layers of performance the paintings were shown in venues where they were viewed by audiences at events during which I spoke and showed films of me working. In this thesis I show how participants and facilitators embody the principles of non-violent resistance and how they perform them in the group. This ‘living’ of non-violent resistance creates change in people’s lives on a number of levels, some of them profound. I argue that there is a gap in the research methods which we use to look at our systemic practice. We constantly seek to creatively enhance our clinical practice so we should also be exploring emerging embodied and performative research practices. This would reflect the shift, in our therapeutic work with clients, towards embodiment (Shotter, 2010), the corporeal (Sheets-Johnstone, 2009) affective or performance turn (Denzin, 2003, 2006). My thesis both describes clinical practice in detail and sets out a new research method.
    • Students’ representations and experiences of personal development and PDP at one British University

      Jankowska, Maja (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-12)
      Those who teach in Higher Education in the UK face with the growing internationalisation and diverse landscape of the sector as well as an obligation to provide students with opportunities for personal, professional and academic development. Whilst a great deal has been written about both internationalisation and Personal Development Planning (PDP), a structured and supported process, which is intended to enable individual students to reflect upon their learning and plan for their future (QM, 2000), relatively little is known about international students' perceptions and experiences of such development and planning. This thesis aims to explore issues that are under-represented in the literature, experiences, perceptions and meanings of personal development and PDP among international students, and cast some light· on the complexities of individuals' development and growth. It employs a broadly phenomenological perspective, attending to individual representations and understandings of a small group of culturally diverse students in one university setting, captured with the use of qualitative research methods (concept maps and interviews). Methodologically, it attends to the researcher's specific insider/outsider positioning and highlights reflexivity as the key feature of the research process. It documents the research journey in a transparent and conscious way, evidencing the methodological experimentation and the development of the researcher. This research raises key questions about uncritical application of concepts such as PDP as well as other pedagogic practices in increasingly diverse classrooms that are underpinned by Western philosophical and scholarly traditions. It challenges a narrow perspective of personal development as centred on agency, individuality, self-promotion, independence and personal achievement and gain by inviting a consideration of personal development and learning as socially constructed processes with a wider range of purposes than traditionally articulated by PDP. It also challenges the perception of international students as 'bearers of problems' and 'empty vessels' and contributes to the shift in the literature from the rhetoric of blame and deficiency to the rhetoric of resource - respectful of students' experiences and knowledge. Whilst not claiming generalisability from a small sample of participants, this project nonetheless has broader implications for researching and teaching across cultures, raising awareness of complexities of multicultural education. In this research I focus on students' ideas of personal development (PD) and personal development planning (PDP). By looking for things that support, not hinder their personal, professional, social and academic development I am able to offer some insights into students' conceptions, beliefs, experiences, hopes and aspirations and suggest ways of improving educational practice (especially in terms of PDP).