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Title: An exploration of the experience and impact of Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) on a group of year 5 childen in a mainstream primary school
Authors: Clavell-Bate., Rebecca Helen
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis set out to gain an understanding of Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), and to explore the experience and impact of EFL on a group of six, Year 5 children in a mainstream suburban primary school, who were considered to lack confidence and experience difficulties with peer relationships. EFL is a relatively new field with limited research however communities of practice of EFL continue to emerge and grow on a world wide scale. General interest in EFL and other animal assisted education programmes is increasing as schools seek alternative ways to meet the varying needs of children and young people. This research project adds a fresh dimension to the growing body of research and contributes to a gap in the literature. It explores the potential value of using horses in an experiential learning context. This small scale study involves a time limited exploratory research design, encompassing a case study approach. The children participated in HorseHeard’s ‘Being Friends Programme’ and had four sessions of EFL in total, one two hour session per week for four weeks. The programme required the children to be actively involved throughout and they were supported and encouraged to engage and reflect upon their own experiences as part of the learning process over the course of the four weeks. Mixed methods were used to collect data; semi-structured interviews and photograph/video elicitation were used to elicit children’s experiences of EFL and semi-structured teacher interviews, the Boxall Profile and sociogram were used to explore the impact EFL had upon the children’s developmental needs, friendships and the school’s experience of EFL as an intervention. The children were interviewed after the final session and then again five months later. Pre and Post intervention data was obtained for the both the sociogram and the Boxall Formatted: Suppress line numbers 11 Profile. Thematic analysis based upon Braune and Clarke’s (2006) model was used to code and categorise the interview data. The findings suggest that EFL was a fun and enjoyable experience for the children and that all the children benefited in some way. EFL could be beneficial in providing support for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs in school as an alternative approach to more traditional methods. Positive impacts were perceived by both participants and school, particularly in the areas of friendship, positive changes to behaviour and attitude, self-worth and confidence. Opportunities for reflection and the support of the teaching assistant played an important role in this intervention; both integral to the EFL experiential learning process.
Description: Ed D Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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