• Vocabulary size and reading comprehension in elementary level Emirati learners of English

      Kinsella, Laurence (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-09)
      The overall aim of this mixed methods study based on a sequential explanatory design was to provide new knowledge and understanding regarding vocabulary learning and reading comprehension among elementary level Emirati learners of English. The low vocabulary sizes and poor reading performances of these learners are well documented (Davidson, Atkinson & Spring, 2011; O’Sullivan, 2009). It is also widely accepted that students with low vocabulary size are will not read efficiently (Laufer & Ravenhorst-Kalovski, 2010; Nation, 2006; Schmitt, Jiang & Grabe, 2011). However, there is still considerable debate on how best low level students might quickly develop their vocabulary and how any increase in vocabulary size impacts on reading comprehension skills (Schmitt, 2010b). Further, much of the research carried out in this area has been in the context of cross sectional studies in experimental conditions rather than in classrooms (Nation & Webb, 2011). The present study aimed to address these gaps through a longitudinal classroom based study on the effect of word cards on receptive vocabulary size development. The quantitative experimental element of the design included an intervention using word cards with the experimental groups. The control groups followed the institutions prescribed vocabulary course which did not include the use of word cards. Additionally, this researcher found no studies seeking the views of Arab learners on the usefulness of word cards. This gap in the literature was addressed through soliciting the students’ perceptions during focus group interviews and a survey questionnaire. The three specific objectives were to:(1) Investigate how decontextualised vocabulary study, using word cards and translation, contributed to a gain in receptive vocabulary for elementary iv level Emirati learners of English; (2) Investigate how vocabulary size is correlated with reading comprehension scores among elementary level Emirati learners of English, and (3): Explore the perceptions of elementary level Emirati learners of English regarding the teaching and learning of vocabulary and its relationship to reading comprehension. The philosophical stance of the researcher was vindicated, because the mixed methods research design, underpinned by constructive realism or pragmatism, provided quantitative data that was enriched and corroborated by qualitative data. Despite its limitations, the main conclusions were that (a) decontextualised vocabulary study, using word cards and translation, contributed a more rapid gain in receptive vocabulary for elementary level Emirati learners of English than a similar teaching programme lacking this element; (b) the size of the receptive vocabulary appeared to correlate with reading comprehension scores. This correlation was especially strong in the case of the Preliminary English Test (PET); and (c) the participants in the experimental group perceived that word cards and translation was a very effective approach to learning vocabulary. The practical implications were that decontextualised vocabulary study, using word cards and translation, could potentially be introduced into curriculum, in order to contribute to a gain in receptive vocabulary for elementary level Emirati learners of English. The findings of this study underline the importance of improving vocabulary size in the case of elementary learners and that the learners are likely to engage better with strategies they believe in.
    • Voiced and non-voiced consumer responses to primary dissatisfaction: a uni-dimensional and multi-dimensional study

      Boote, Jonathan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003)
      It is proposed by scholars of consumer complaining behaviour that dissatisfaction occurs at two levels: (1) the primary level resulting from product or service failure; and (2) the secondary level resulting from an unsuccessful attempt at complaint resolution with the company held responsible. This thesis provides an integrated analysis of the triggers of voiced and non-voiced consumer responses to the level of primary dissatisfaction. A deductively derived two-factor taxonomy of consumer responses to dissatisfaction was developed out of the extant literature, to identify those responses to dissatisfaction analogous with both primary and secondary dissatisfaction. Based on this taxonomy, a deductively derived typology of consumer responses to primary dissatisfaction, together with two truncated alternatives, was also proposed. The proposed typologies facilitated two levels of analysis: (1) the unidimensional level relating to whether or not the dissatisfaction was voiced to the company held responsible; and (2) the multi-dimensional level of response style engaged in. At each level of analysis, the contribution to total explained variance of six trigger sets was assessed: pre-dissatisfaction situation, post-dissatisfaction situation, company/consumer relationship, marketplace/consumer relationship, psychographics and demographics. The validity of both the proposed two-factor taxonomy and the three typologies was examined through a cross-sectional survey of 1000 dissatisfied consumers across eight product and service categories. Findings supported the deductive basis of the taxonomy, where it was found that whilst exit behaviours and private negative word-of-mouth are analogous with the level of primary dissatisfaction, the incidence of public negative word-of-mouth, third party action and grudge holding was significantly greater among consumers experiencing secondary dissatisfaction. These findings also supported the deductive basis of the proposed typologies of responses to primary dissatisfaction, by empirically identifying those responses analogous with this level of dissatisfaction. At the unidimensional level of analysis, the trigger sets explained 54% ofthe variance between a voiced and a non-voiced instance of primary dissatisfaction. At the multidimensional level of the response style, 63% of variance was explained between response styles in the truncated typology with the most practical use for suppliers. On the basis of these findings, recommendations are made to practitioners on how to encourage supplier-friendly consumer response styles following primary dissatisfaction, and to discourage less friendly styles. The empirically supported truncated typology -distinguishing between passive, private responses, telling, and telling + private responses -represents an important strategic tool for suppliers to monitor and benchmark responses to primary dissatisfaction among their customer base.
    • The volcanic geology of the southern wall of the Valle Del Bove, Mount Etna, Sicily

      McGuire, William Joseph (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1980-08)
      The Valle del Bove is a horse-shoe shaped depression, 8km long and 5km wide, cut into the eastern flanks of Mount Etna, Sicily. In the southern cliff walls there are exposed the lavas and pyroclastics erupted by six ancient centres of activity which existed in the vicinity of the site now occupied by the Valle del Bove. The majority of these volcanics originated at a centre, Trifoglietto II, which occupied a position on the site of the southern Valle del Bove, and which was still erupting lavas at 25,000 ys BP. A reconstruction of the topography which previously existed within the Valle del Bove, is accomplished by extrapolating preserved contours on the northern and southern walls of the depression. Reconstruction of the Trifoglietto II centre shows that its summit was probably between 2500m and 2600m above present sea-level, and that it consisted of a cone constructed predominantly from pyroclastic materials, overlain on its southern and eastern flanks by lavas. A stratigraphy is constructed for the southern wall. The Trifoglietto II lavas rest unconformably upon the eroded remnants of an older centre, and are themselves overlain by the products of younger centres. All the lavas exposed in the southern wall are of alkalic affinity, and comprise a trachybasaltic suite ranging from hawaiite to benmoreite. Variation in the chemistry of most of the lavas can be explained by their differentiation at high levels in the crust, from a more basic magma of alkalibasalt/hawaiite composition. Chemical variation in the Trifoglietto II lavas, however, can best be explained as a result of generation by the partial melting of garnet-peridotite material at upper mantle depths and pressures. A study has been made of the numerous dykes exposed in the walls of the Valle del Bove., the alignments of which parallel trends which are important on Etna at the present time. It is proposed that the Valle del Bove was formed by phreatic or phreato-magmatic eruptions which destroyed the Trifoglietto II centre, some 15-17,000 ys BP, following magmatic extinction at the centre. The eruptions produced lahars which are evident to the east of the depression, and extensive air-fall ashes. Subsequent enlargement of the Valle del Bove was accomplished by fluvial erosion.
    • The volcaniclastic deposits of the main caldera and the evolution of the Galluccio Tuff of Roccamonfina volcano, Southern Italy

      Cole, Paul David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1990-07)
      The south-west portion of the main caldera was mapped and a stratigraphy for the caldera-fill was constructed. The exact timing of formation of the main caldera is unclear; However, caldera collapse either predates or was synchronous with the eruption of the Campagnola Tuff. The proximal facies of the Campagnola Tuff exists as a complex relation of ignimbrite, lithic breccia and pyroclastic surge deposits. Overlying this the Galluccio Tuff a compound ignimbrite, ~6 km3 D.R.E, forms the base of the exposed caldera fill. Caldera lakes then became well established and following activity was predominantly phreatomagmatic. Pyroclastic surge deposits possess sand wave structures of several types and their migration direction was apparently controlled by the velocity/flow regime of the surge rather than the moisutre content. The morphology of juvenile clasts from phreatomagmatic deposits indicates that the eruptions were driven by a combination of vesiculation and magma/water interaction. The uppermost pyroclastic deposits are thought to represent the early phase of dome building where water still had access to the vent. The construction of the lava domes brought activity to a close within the main caldera. The Galluccio Tuff on the flanks of the volcano may be divided into three compositionally distinct eruptive units. The Lower Galluccio Tuff, correlated with the bulk of the Galluccio Tuff filling the main caldera. The Middle Galluccio Tuff commenced with the eruption of pumice-rich pyroclastic flows followed by flows enriched in both the size and amount of lithic fragments forming lithic-rich ignimbrite and co-ignimbrite lithic breccias of which several types exist. The Upper Galluccio Tuff is composed of lithic-rich ignimbrite which possess dense pumice fragments and are thought to be the product of a combination of both vesiculation and magma water interaction. Field relations indicate that pyroclastic flows were sometimes generated in quick succession and may have overrun earlier slower moving flows. Occasionally internal shear may have caused the overriding of portions of the same flow, these often coincide with lithic breccias and represent the climax of the eruptive phases. The grading of lithic fragments indicates that the expansion and fluidization decreased and yield strength increased with time in a pyroclastic flow.
    • Volunteering for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: visions, policies and capitals

      Zhuang, Juan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-01)
      This research examines the use of volunteering at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games for the creation of human, social and political capital at individual, organisational and societal levels. Despite a long tradition of Olympic volunteering, this has not been investigated so far. The concept of volunteerism at Beijing 2008, in fact, was constructed upon multiple contexts including the Olympic Movement, Chinese society and an international understanding of the ternl (BOCOG, 2005). Hence, volunteerism as an under-investigated concept is firstly studied individually in each of these contexts. The frameworks underpinning this research include Getz's (2005) human resource planning process which explains how specific policies for managing event volunteers are formulated for fulfilling its vision(s); and theories of social, human and political capital as developed by Putnam (2000), Bourdieu (1986; 1991) and Coleman (1988) respectively. Multiple qualitative case study strategy is adopted for this investigation, following a constructivist paradigm. The subjective and interactive epistemology is constructed upon the knowledge and experiences of a total of fifty-seven infoIDlants, most of whom were directly involved in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Volunteer Programme. The research findings illustrate that the Chinese state and BOCOG's interpretation of the concept of volunteerisrn was manifested in organisational visions for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Volunteer Programme. These visions were accomplished through a range of management policies, which in fact placed volunteerism at Beijing 2008 in line with the maturity stage of volunteerism in the Olympic Movement. During the course of the management practices, social, human and political capital were created in varying degrees at all of the three levels. It was also evident that participation and training were the critical processes in the creation of different forms of capital. Moreover, the findings suggest that the created social, human and political capital have both positive and negative effects on those involved, while full possible long-term effects are yet to become apparent. This research makes distinctive contributions to the body of knowledge. It adds six-dimensional conceptual frameworks for both volunteerism in general and Olympic volunteerism in specific. Investigation into how volunteering for the Beijing Games has been used for the creation of social, human and political capital at individual, organisational and societal levels is deemed to be original. Research findings will contribute to the development of volunteerism in the Olympic Movement and future Olympic volunteer programmes. Suggestions for future research are also proposed to investigate on further issues of issue of the use of volunteering for the creation of social, human and political capital at future Olympic Games as well as other mega events.
    • Washback effects of speaking assessment of teaching English in Sri Lankan schools

      Umashankar, Singanayagam; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-08)
      Washback is a concept commonly used in applied linguistics to refer to the influence of testing on teaching and learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate the washback effect of a new system of English language speaking assessment in Sri Lanka. The new assessment was introduced with the intention of promoting the teaching and learning of English speaking skills in schools as part of a Presidential educational initiative called the English as a Life Skill Programme. The study examined the washback effect of the introduction of speaking assessments at both National and school levels from the perspectives of participants at three levels of the education system: the decision making level, intervening level (teacher trainers and in-service advisors), and implementing level (teachers and students). For this purpose, a mixed methods research approach was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants at the decision making level and intervening level to examine whether there were any important gaps in translating policy intentions to the implementing level participants (teachers and students). A questionnaire survey was conducted with teachers and students to investigate their perceptions of the assessment change and its effects on teaching and learning speaking in the classroom. Classroom observations were conducted to gain insights into actual classroom practices in relation to teaching and learning speaking, along with follow-up interviews to seek teachers’ accounts of their classroom practices. The study found that the assessment change did influence teachers’ and students’ perceptions of teaching and learning speaking in the classroom, as well as teachers’ instructional practices. Therefore, some of the policymakers’ intended aims were achieved. However, the intensity and direction of washback were shown to be influenced by several mediating factors such as teachers’ training and contextual factors such as the availability of classroom resources. The findings of this study suggest that assessment reforms can be used to promote change both in what is taught in the classroom and how it is taught, but to different degrees. The study indicated that washback does occur in this context, but it operates in a complex manner associated with many other variables besides the assessment itself. The findings of this study have implications for the improvement of future assessment policies in Sri Lanka, highlighting the importance of timely implementation of reforms and of monitoring them. The findings suggest that it is especially important to listen to key stakeholders’ (teachers’ and students’) voices in the initial planning and feasibility study phases of reform.
    • Water deficit responses of non-nodulated and nodulated Vicia faba (broad bean) when supplied with various forms on concentrations of medium nitrogen nutrition

      McCabe, Victoria B. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2000-03)
      V. faba fixes nitrogen effectively (Richards & Soper, 1979), however nitrogen fixation is reportedly energetically expensive and water deficit sensitive. Research was designed to determine whether medium nitrogen applications would result in increased productivities in V. faba, particularly during water deficits. Non-nodulated and nodulated V. faba were subjected to gradual water deficit imposition, and were supplied with a variety of medium nitrogen nutrition. Nitrogen fixing V. faba exhibited greater productivities than V. faba which were supplied with low medium nitrate concentrations (0.8 roM N), even during water deficits. Plant performance parameters (growth; net photosynthesis; nitrogen assimilatory enzyme activities; osmotic adjustment) were greater in nodulated than in non-nodulated 'no nitrate' supplied V. faba throughout water deficits, inferring water deficit tolerance for nitrogen fixation. However significantly greater plant performance paramaters were exhibited in V. faba when supplied with increasingly concentrated medium nitrogen nutrition (> 0.8 roM N) than when reliant on nitrogen fixation. In contrast to the bulk of previous literature, NR activities were maintained in V. faba until water deficits became severe, inferring a role for nitrate assimilation in nitrogenous osmotica production. Medium ammonia additions resulted in the exhibition of significantly increased root biomasses; cumulative leaf areas (important for a green manure crop); heights; and nitrogen assimilation in V. faba throughout water deficits, and accordingly in increased osmotic adjustment (including compatible solute accumulation), protein concentrations and vegetative yields. Greater plant productivities in v. faba when supplied with medium ammonia additions were attributed in part to lower associated assimilatory costs for ammonia than nitrate nutrition (Raven, 1992). Results indicated increased metabolism as opposed to storage of medium ammonia, and therefore potentially alleviated 'sink size' feedback inhibition of photosynthesis and nitrogen metabolism in V. faba when supplied with medium ammonia additions. Furthermore ammonia supplied V. faba may have been predisposed towards water deficit tolerance. In summary V. faba exhibited significantly greater nitrogen assimilation; osmotic adjustment; net photosynthesis; and growth when supplied with increasingly concentrated medium nitrogen nutrition (and particularly with medium ammonia additions) than when reliant on nitrogen fixation, both during periods of adequate irrigation and during water deficits.
    • Water quality investigations of the River Lea (NE London)

      Patroncini, Deborah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-01)
      The Lea Navigation in the north-east of London, a canalised reach of the River Lea, is affected by episodes of very low levels of dissolved oxygen. The problem was detected by the Environment Agency in the stretch from the confluence with Pymmes Brook (which receives the final effluent of Deephams sewage treatment works) to the Olympic area (Marshgate Lane, Stratford). In this project, possible causes and sources of the poor water quality in the Lea Navigation have been investigated using a multi-parameter approach. A study of physico-chemical parameters, obtained from Environment Agency automated monitoring stations, gave a clear picture of the poor river water quality at three sites in this reach. River water ecotoxicity to the freshwater alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata was determined by algal growth inhibition tests, following the OECD guidelines. Moreover, a novel protocol was developed which involved the use of E. coli biosensors (CellSense) operating at a lower potential than the standard protocol and using pre-concentrated river water samples. This protocol is promising and it has the potential to be a useful tool to determine the toxicity of contaminants at environmental concentrations. Furthermore, the developed protocol is a rapid, easy to perform bioassay, with potential application in achieving the aims of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). In addition to the data from the Environment Agency automatic monitoring stations and the laboratory-based tests, two in situ monitoring approaches were performed: 1) a detailed spatial seasonal monitoring of physico-chemical parameters of river water at twenty-three sites, and 2) algal growth inhibition tests, with algae entrapped in alginate beads, at seven monitoring stations. Results showed chronic pollution, and identified polar compounds in the river water and high bacterial concentrations as possible causes of low dissolved oxygen levels. This study confirmed the negative impact of Deephams STW (throughout Pymmes Brook) on the water quality of the Lea Navigation. However, there was evidence of other sources of pollution, in particular Stonebridge Brook was identified as uncontrolled source of pollution and untreated wastewater. Other possible sources include Old Moselle Brook, diffuse pollution from surface runoff, boat discharges and other undetected misconnections. Finally, in the light of the WFD, this project provides a case study on the investigation of river water quality, providing evidence that the multiparameter approach is reliable, and low cost approach for the monitoring of freshwater bodies.
    • Welfare and responsibility: a qualitative study of the demise of social morality and the rise of personal ethics in welfare discourses

      Doheny, Shane D. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2004-08)
      Much attention has been devoted in the social sciences to the reorganisation of the moral order of society (Smart, 1999). This reorganisation means that responsibility for welfare is now located with the individual. In spite of the salience given to privately held responsibility for welfare in social policy, little work has been carried out on the discourses underpinning this way of distributing responsibility (Finch and Mason, 1993, Duncan and Edwards, 1999, Rowlingson, 2002). Work on this issue is especially timely as New Labour continues the privatisation of responsibility for welfare in a way that, many people believe, neglects a moral dimension. Instead, New Labour favours a more ethical construction that exhorts the individual to do her duty by which they mean she should work for her own betterment and well-being (Levitas, 1998, Giddens, 1998, Jordan, 1998, Lund, 1999). This work begins by situating responsibility as a historically variable and discursive construction, uncovering how the understanding of responsibility changed as the problem focusing the minds of social engineers altered from one of poverty to one of security in the 1970s. While responsibility has only recently been identified as a particular issue for social policy academics (Roche, 1992, Dwyer, 1998, Dean et aI., 2004) philosophers and sociologists have paid close attention to responsibility over the past decade (Bauman, 1993, 1995, Habermas, 1990, 1995, Apel, 1989, 1996, Etzioni, 1995, Schmidtz, 1998, Goodin, 1998). Building on the issues raised by these authors, this work presents a qualitative study of government press releases, interviews with benefits recipients, members of the general public, welfare advisors and welfare benefits administrators to explore the rational structure of the discourses of responsibility for welfare. As a result, I develop the argument that while the reconfigured moral order promotes a private acceptance of responsibility for welfare, people still want a way of interpreting responsibility taking in a more public way.
    • What are the issues involved in using e-portfolios as a pedagogical tool?

      Mills, Jeanette Marie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-11)
      In Initial Teacher Training (ITT), one of the technologies rapidly being adopted to support the development of trainee teachers is the e-portfolio. Research into successful use of e-portfolios beyond their function as a repository has been scanty to date. The purpose of the current study was to extend the boundaries of understanding of e-portfolios beyond this function. This was undertaken through two in-depth case studies where e-portfolios were used as a pedagogical tool intended to support the development of reflective practice on a one year postgraduate ITT course, during two years of investigation in one university A mixed-methods approach was adopted to capture the richness of participants’ self reports of their experiences, statistical data regarding interactions on the e-portfolios and analysis of reflective writing. Data were collected and analysed from questionnaires, student and tutor interviews and interactions with the e-portfolio together with analysis of the content of reflective e-journals, with a special emphasis on the place and depth of reflection. What emerged was a rich contextual understanding of e-portfolio use by trainee teachers and tutors and the problematic nature of conceptualising and assessing reflective thinking, together with the extent to which the development and depth of their reflective thinking had been supported by e-portfolio use. The results confirm previous concerns related to the training requirements of users and also the time needed for students and tutors to engage in interactions. Further they imply that the prerequisites of successful use of e-portfolios, as a pedagogical tool, to support the development of reflective thinking include common agreement about what constitutes reflection and reflective thinking embedded within a strong, rigorous and well theorised conceptualisation of course structure and content. Implied also is the need for a well understood and transparent framework to assess the depth of reflective thinking that should complement the competencies that underpin Standards, and support the professional development of teachers.
    • What is resilience and how can it be assessed and enhanced in social workers?

      Grant, Louise Jane (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-08)
      The outputs chosen for inclusion for this PhD by publication comprise seven articles published in peer reviewed journals, two book chapters, one research paper and two resource guides commissioned by professional bodies. These outputs explore two major themes. The first concerns the nature of resilience in social workers and identifies the inter- and intra-individual competencies associated with the concept. The second concerns how resilience and its underpinning competencies can be enhanced in social work education, both pre and post qualification. The report begins by contextualising the research within the existing literature, outlining my epistemological and methodological position and highlighting the importance of a pragmatic mixed-methods approach to research design, data collection and analysis. A critique of the outputs is subsequently provided together with a discussion of how I developed as a social work academic and a researcher during the research programme. Finally, the significance of the contribution to the body of social work knowledge provided by these outputs is demonstrated by identifying how the research has enhanced understanding of improving wellbeing in social workers though the development of a tool box of strategies to manage stress and foster resilience in social work training and practice.
    • What is the current policy and practice for social workers on planning contact between special guardianship children and their birth parents?

      Thompson, Nicholas John (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      Special guardianship is a new but rapidly expanding area of permanency planning that is increasingly popular with families and kinship carers. In 2017, 3,690 children left care for a special guardianship placement, and a further unknown number were granted orders in private proceedings. An integral feature of this new legal option is that where it is considered to be in the child’s best interests, they should continue to have some level of contact with their parents, after the special guardianship order has been granted. Social workers have a duty to assess, plan and recommend what the nature of that contact should be. However there is virtually no policy guidance provided to them on how to undertake those duties. Positive contact with their birth parents can help a child maintain existing bonds, while making sense of how they are part of two families, in order to explore and develop their sense of personal identity. To a large extent it will also determine the nature and success of the child’s future relationship with their parents. So these are vital decisions that will affect the child’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. Yet very little is known about the process that social workers undertake in order to decide what level and type of contact is appropriate in each special guardianship case. This study set out to investigate the planning and recommending of birth parent contact in special guardianship cases. The literature review demonstrated a paucity of studies of this field to inform policy and practice, although information was gathered from other fields where contact is held, such as kinship care and fostering. The research method comprised of an online questionnaire that was completed by 102 local authority social workers, two focus groups for social workers and two focus groups for special guardians. The results provided quantitative data on what social workers included in their recommendations, and the factors they considered in reaching their decisions. Qualitative data from practitioners described the difficulties in planning contact for the long-term in complex and fluid family contexts. Involving special guardians in the study gave a chance to include the different perspectives of the people who have to make the contact recommendations work, and contrast their views on contact planning with those of the professionals. The carers provided additional insights into the challenge of managing contact, and the problems they faced when the parents were not always reliable or responsible. Recommendations for addressing the issues raised included more use of reviews of contact, a scheduled move from the initial contact plan to the special guardian assuming full responsibility for contact decisions, keeping cases open for a ‘settling in’ period, proposals for all contact plans to include training, and a rebalancing of the responsibility for contact onto parents through the use of contact agreements. This study has provided understanding of a crucial area of child permanency planning that has not been investigated before, by including the large-scale involvement of social workers, and introducing the contributions of service-users.
    • What is the point of homework and should schools set it?

      Edwards, Wendy (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-04)
      The research on homework since the 19th century in the United Kingdom (UK) shows that there are considerable issues to be addressed in this area. Governments have discussed it and the media have reported on it and it is still a contentious issue for schools and homes alike. This study shows that there has been very little change in the issues surrounding homework for over a hundred years and that no political party in office will take a stand on it. Even though schools would like to see a change in policy it is not on the government agenda. The study worked with six secondary schools in one town over a fixed time period to collect information to discuss some of those questions being asked around the issues related to homework. The literature review looked at documents dating back to 1880 when similar questions were being asked about the relevance of "keeping in" and in 1881 "home lessons" was a newspaper article. A teacher training manual in 1885 contained a chapter on home lessons and those advantages and disadvantages described in the book are very similar to the advantages and disadvantages described in 2004. Hansard recorded discussions in parliament from 1884 about the overpressure put on pupils. Home conditions and the support given by parents in completing homework have been discussed both in the media and in parliament. Comparisons are made between homework in the UK and other similar countries using internationally collected data. The mixed method research included questioning students, families, teachers and governors. Interviews were conducted with senior teachers at the schools, with responsibility for implementing the homework policy. School documents were scrutinised including the home-school agreement, homework policies and homework guidelines for students, families and teachers. The findings of this study showed that there are differences between the main stakeholders, students, families, teachers and governors, in the knowledge, views and opinions of homework. Students, families, teachers and governors differed in their opinions, with many students and families, although seeing some benefits, opposing the setting of homework due to the impact on family time and the stress caused by it. While teachers and governors supported the setting of homework and the important contribution it made in school. There are differences between different types of schools and those with lower and higher ability students and the influence that homework has on the stress levels of those students in higher performing schools. Homework is seen as a marketing tool for some schools to use in selling themselves on the competing educational market place. The findings of this study continue to ask the questions related to homework and in particular What is the purpose of homework?, What type of homework is seen as most effective in supporting students' learning in the various areas of the curriculum?, Does the home environment always support students completing homework and what kind of resources do students need to complete homework and do they have access to these resources at home? and What political, economic, social and educational factors (Hallam, 2004) are important in understanding the context in which homework policies and practices are developed?
    • What’s the value of a degree? graduates’ perceptions of value of their undergraduate degrees

      Ingham, Deena (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-12)
      This thesis sets out to analyse perceptions of the legacy value of an undergraduate degree from graduates at different distances since graduation. This perspective has not been systematically sought within higher education today. Submission of the work comes as attention in England is focused on ‘teaching excellence’ and Government expectations that a higher education degree should deliver lasting value to graduates and taxpayers alike. Thus the work has importance in providing new research identifying that the graduate voice supports more realistic student expectations and effective curricula. Underpinned by constructivist theories of research (Kukla, 2000) and learning (Dewey 1916) the study sought to understand the value of a degree through the experiences and perceptions of graduates. It explored with them how they recognise and allocate value within well-established areas such as economic/financial, academic and personal, defined by previous researchers including Barnett (1990), Mezirow (1991) and Caul (1993). A mixed methods two-phase study gathered quantitative and qualitative data from 15 interviews and an online survey of 202 graduates from universities in England across all institutional mission groups. Graduates were invited to examine and allocate the relative value of their degree in economic/financial, academic and personal terms. The primary conclusion was that whilst 99 per cent of graduates perceived value in their degree they attributed least value to the economic/financial benefits. This indicates a discrepancy between graduate perceptions of value and the hegemonic cost/benefit discourse that underpins political policy around individual tuition fees. The findings additionally determined a statistically significant relationship between students’ entry motivation and graduate perception of degree value. Graduates whose entry motivation as students had been to meet the expectations of others were more likely to perceive lower value in their degree than those motivated by personal aspiration and a career goal requiring a degree. Graduates reporting the highest value perceptions also evidenced selfauthorship during their degrees. The relationship between high perceptions of value and likelihood to recommend a degree or institution emerged as statistically significant. Analysis of the findings resulted in the creation of a conceptual model of graduate perception of value which recommends institutions resource drawing on the graduate voice to develop and sustain value within and surrounding a degree to sustain their work. The findings revealed implications for sustaining student enrolment and institutional advancement in an increasingly commercialised, competitive and marketised sector. The thesis demonstrates ways in which regular collation and publication of graduate perceptions of value evidence, and inform, the legacy of undergraduate degrees across the sector and from specific institutions.
    • Who uses NHS Direct? factors that impact on the uptake of telephone based healthcare

      Cook, Erica Jane (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-01)
      This research aimed to investigate the socio-demographic characteristics alongside the psycho-social factors that impact on the uptake of telephone based healthcare using a socio-cognitive approach. The first study analysed four ‘one month’ periods of national NHS Direct call data (July 2010, October 2010, January 2011 and April 2011) for all 0845 4647 calls in England. Expected and actual usage of NHS Direct was determined for each ethnic group of the population and compared using Chi-square analysis. Results confirmed that White British used NHS Direct more than expected, alongside Mixed (Caribbean/African) and Asian Pakistani groups, with lower representation found for Asian Indian\Bangladeshi, Black African\Caribbean, alongside Chinese ethnic groups. No gender differences were noted. Calls were then analysed for age, gender and deprivation (IMD health, income, employment & education) using negative binominal regression. Results suggest that deprivation increases call rates for adult calls but reduced in calls about children (<15 years). This study also highlights that NHS Direct call rates (all ages combined) are highest in areas with deprivation levels at, or just above, the national average, which remains consistent when accounting for employment, income and education deprivation. The second study, adopted a qualitative approach to explore the psycho-social factors that impact on the uptake of telephone based healthcare. Focus groups were conducted with low user groups (Manchester (N=3) and Mendip (N=4)), alongside high service users (N=2) and service providers (N=2). Five themes emerged: attitudes, structural and perceived barriers, knowledge and awareness of NHS Direct alongside improving access. Findings highlight a preference for instant face-to-face reassurance in low user groups, whereby low users appear to have lower perceived confidence in self-management of symptoms and engaging with telephone based health services. In conclusion the findings suggest there is variation in usage of NHS Direct, influenced by ethnicity, gender, age and deprivation. This research has explored some of the barriers, and has provided a theoretical framework that can be applied to understand uptake of telephone based healthcare. This research can help enable the development of future promotional campaigns that can target particular sections of the population to encourage use of telephone based healthcare services.
    • Who works not what works: an exploration into the rise of managerialism in services to children, young people and families and the challenge this poses to the role of professionalism and relationship-based provision

      Olaitan, Paul (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-07)
      This paper sets out to give an overview of the impact of socio-economic and political thinking on the structure and esteem of services to children, young people and families, and the placing of subsequent services to meet the needs of service users. Through an exploration of the works of key theorists and academic contributors in relevant fields the attempt is first to establish the socio-structural context within which services are structured and delivered before moving on to set out the journey taken in one inner city local authority to grapple with the challenges set out by the requirement to meet the complex needs of local people within an increasingly hostile environment for public services. I call on extensive experience in the field to inform an opinion that, under neoliberal policy frameworks, services have become increasingly alienating to the people that come to call on them for support, and that, in so doing, they undermine their ability to function as required and in part, serve to exacerbate the very issues they set out to eradicate. In particular, professional approaches have inadvertently accelerated this problem of alienation resulting in energies being spent on professional survival and legitimacy at the expense of the particularly complex and challenging issue of improving the lives of children and young people who experience difficulties. Through the development of a new integrated, systemic and humanistic service which has striven to break down the barriers erected to identify the differences between professions at the expense of a focus on service users, it is felt that an opportunity now exists to refocus the energies of services so that greater attention is placed on the role of the practitioner, the relationships they form with service users, and the engagement these relationships make possible. Looking forward, consideration is made of the possibilities this presents for service delivery that sees success in equipping children, young people and families with the tools to locate and express their voices rather than, in keeping with broader consumerist agenda, encourage service users to receive, rather than inform, services -which will require professionals to shift from a role of leaders to facilitators in the delivery of community development interventions.
    • Work and leisure today: a feminist exploration in Sofia

      Kaldaramova, Stefani; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-01)
      Throughout Bulgarian history, the dominant pattern of gender relations has always been the patriarchal one. Since 1989, the wind of change in restructured Europe has blown into Bulgaria many new cultural, political and social ideas and influences, but has subdued little of the conservative values and normative gender discourse. In fact, women‘s position in the public and the private spheres did not change much during the transitional period and consequent democratisation and restructuring of the economy, throughout which, Bulgarian women faced numerous challenges in balancing work/leisure and family. Yet, no comprehensive research study exists, which explores the problematics of the work-leisure relationship for the generation of women that came of age during this transitional period. This research study examines the work and leisure meanings for full-time employed, Generation Y, women in Sofia (Bulgaria) in order to shine light on the way they negotiate gendered constraints in everyday life and propose areas for further investigation. To accomplish this aim, feminist, case study methodology is utilised. Moreover, the epistemological problematics of the feminist research process are addressed by the researcher‘s reflexivity and authoethnography. The method of personal narrative is chosen to reflect the invisibility of neoliberal structural constraints and situates personal experiences in the process of existing inequalities. Thus, a better understanding of the role and position of the researcher in this study is presented. The research findings illustrate the ways leisure and work meanings are constructed in the context of post-feminist guise of equality, in which, young Sofian women are now attributed with capacity. This is exemplified by participant‘s conceptualisations of work, leisure and gender culture. Individual women express contradictory view about gender roles, femininity and masculinity that illustrate a collective sense of rejection of feminism (in its mainstream sense) as a threat to heterosexual gender relations. Findings reveal that Generation Y, Sofian women‘s femininity does not necessarily fit into a simple polarity, that is either 'traditional‘ (women as wives/mothers and labourers) or 'modern‘ (assimilating to 'Western‘ values and lifestyles). Rather, their identities relate to both of these selves and are becoming increasingly hybrid and fluid. Their leisure is central life pursuit and arguably exists to empower women to resist gender inequalities, perpetuated by both new and old gender discourses and ideologies. Drawing from the contemporary field of feminist leisure studies with a an explicit focus on interdisciplinarity and post-structural feminisms the study wishes to contribute to existing debates on women‘s multiple leisure meanings and leisure as an experiences that empower individuals and, more broadly, challenge cultural norms about women‘s embodied capacities. Finally, management and operational bodies of the leisure industries can potentially use this case study to facilitate leisure opportunities, services and products for Generation Y, Sofian women, who are now active participants in the capitalist, consumer culture.
    • The worldview of tour guides: a grounded theory study

      Aloudat, Areej Shabib (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010-03)
      This research study explores the worldview of tour guides, and develops a framework on the lived world of knowledge, sensations and perceptions that constitute the professional and subjective realities of the guiding role. The research enquiry uses a qualitative approach, incorporating a grounded theory strategy, to explore this world and model its main dimensions.
    • Writer-reader interaction: writer’s stance in English L1 and L2

      Darwish, Hosam (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-07)
      Stance refers to the ways academics annotate their texts to comment on the possible accuracy or creditability of a claim, the extent they want to commit themselves to it, or the attitude they want to convey to an entity, a proposition or the reader. Stance concerns writer-oriented features of interaction which can be presented by four interpersonal categories. These categories are boosters, e.g. ‘clearly’, hedges, e.g. ‘may’, self-mentions, e.g. ‘I’ and attitude markers, e.g. ‘interesting’. A big number of corpus-based studies have been conducted to analyse stance markers in both L1 and L2 writer’s transcripts from the view that texts are independent of specific contexts and outside the personal experiences of authors and audience. This view does not go along with the idea that texts are instances of interaction between the writer and their audience. Therefore, the current study sought to fill this gap in research by adopting a more subjective view through stressing the actions and perceptions of the text writers to better understand them. The aim of this study is to have a more complete picture of the writer-reader interaction by investigating the three elements of interaction: The text, the text writers and the audience. Adopting Hyland’s (2005b) Model of Interaction, a corpus of 80 discussion chapters written by both MA postgraduate Egyptian students (English L2) at Egyptian universities and their British student peers (English L1) at UK universities, were searched both electronically using the Text Inspector tool and manually by two raters to identify more than 200 stance markers in students’ academic scripts. Moreover, the study explored the perceptions of twenty of the text writers’ (both Egyptian and British) about the functions of certain stance markers and the factors that could affect their understanding and use of these linguistic features. Characteristics of successful stance-taking were suggested after interviewing four expert writers. The quantitative results found no statistically significant differences in the total number of stance markers, boosters and self-mentions used by students in the two writer groups, but the L1 corpus contained statistically significant more hedges and attitude markers than the L2 one. Furthermore, the L1 texts included noticeably more types of stance markers than the L2 scripts. vi The discourse-based interviews conducted indicated that both L1 and L2 writers were aware of the functions of stance markers. However, some of the interviewees (both L1 and L2) had narrow or even faulty conceptions of certain stance markers, e.g. possibility versus probability devices and other attitude markers, e.g. ‘important’ and ‘significant’. These features of academic discourse had not been made more conspicuous to them, and this could have affected their employment of these linguistic features. The findings revealed that in addition to the lingua-cultural aspect, writer’s personal linguistic preferences, supervisor’s and other lecturers’ feedback, previous education and instruction, and the writer’s self-confidence were key factors that have played a considerable role in students’ lexical decision-making. For instance, L2 students might have used fewer types of stance markers than L1 students due to their lack of confidence and their reluctance to use certain types of devices that they did not master or practised enough. The study, also, suggested that the higher density of stance markers is not absolutely an indication of a better ability in writing or a feature of a well-written academic text. The epistemological stance of the study and the contextual factors do play a significant role in the quantity and type of the stance markers used.
    • Writing (as) systemic practice

      Simon, Gail (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      This doctoral portfolio is a collection of papers and pieces of creative writing arising out of therapeutic, supervisory and training conversations and in relation to a wide range of texts. I have wanted to find ways of writing ethically so as to avoid objectifying people and appropriating their words, their life stories. I find ways of writing in which the values and practices of a collaborative, dialogical and reflexive ways of being with people are echoed in the texts. I show how writing and reading are relational practices in that I speak with the participants in the texts as well as with the reader and also with other writers. To do this, I experiment with a variety of written forms and employ literary devices so as to speak from within a range of practice relationships, from within inner dialogue, with real and fictitious characters. Technically and ethically, I try to write in a way which not only captures the sound of talk but which also speaks with the reader who would be reading, and perhaps hearing these accounts of conversation. By sharing a rich level of detail from my polyvocal inner dialogue, I invite the reader into a unique and privileged alongside position as a participant-observer in my work. Inspirational research methodologies include: writing as a method of inquiry, reflexivity, autoethnography, performance ethnography and transgression interpreted by many areas of systemic theory and practice. To support this innovative work, I offer several theoretical and practical papers offering novel developments on systemic practice theory. I situate systemic practice as a research method and demonstrate many family resemblances between systemic inquiry and qualitative inquiry. I offer a reflexive model for systemic practice and practice research which I call Praction Research which regards therapy and research as political acts requiring an activist agenda. Linked to this I politicise ideas of reflexivity by introducing local and global reflexivity and create a political connection with a concept of theorethical choices in theory and ethics in practice research. I propose a new form of ethnography suited to systemic practice, Relational Ethnography in which I draw attention to reflexive relationships between writer and readers, between the voices of inner and outer dialogue in research texts.