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Title: An appreciative exploration of what works to enhance the wellbeing of staff working in a special education school
Authors: Bamford, Amy
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This document includes three key sections; a systematic literature review, an empirical research study and a bridging document (linking the other two documents). Overall this project seeks to explore ‘what works’ to enhance the wellbeing of staff working in special education schools. The first chapter, the systematic literature review, critically examines the literature surrounding special educational teacher burnout. The review is guided by recommendations from Petticrew and Roberts (2006). Eight pieces of research literature are found to meet the inclusion criteria and are consequently used within the review. A process of textual narrative synthesis is used to inform synthesis of the studies. Themes are identified across the studies and subsequently, divided into two sub-categories; risk factors and protective factors. Within the first category, risk factors, the following themes were apparent: role conflict and role ambiguity; workload manageability; self-esteem, self-efficacy and classroom management efficacy; and perceived stress. Within the second category, protective factors, the following themes were apparent: perceived support, including the type of support and where the support came from; leadership style; building relationships with students; coping strategies; career professional development; and overall happiness and job satisfaction. Based on findings from the literature review, the empirical research project seeks to explore the organisational factors enhancing staff wellbeing in a special education setting. An empirical research project in Chapter Three, draws upon appreciative inquiry (Cooperrider, Whitney, & Stavros, 2003) to explore the factors enhancing their wellbeing. Inductive thematic analysis using a hybrid of semantic and latent coding is used to analyse the data (Braun & Clarke, 2006, 2013; Willig, 2013). Five organisational factors including leadership; having a shared goal and understanding; supportive structures being in place; staff feeling supported; and the adoption of a person-centred approach are determined to enhance the wellbeing of staff within the school. Links are then made to the wider literature, with particular exploration of ‘professional learning communities’ (PLCs). The project closes by considering the implications for Educational Psychologists looking to support staff wellbeing within schools. These chapters are linked by a bridging document – Chapter Two - which explores the research journey including consideration of the philosophical assumptions underpinning and the influence these may have had on the empirical research project.
Description: D. App. Ed. Psy. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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