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Title: Exploring secondary students’ wellbeing : how relationships and contextual factors influence wellbeing
Authors: Burt, Clare
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores how relationships and contextual factors in school promote secondary school students’ wellbeing. It contains four chapters: Chapter 1: A Systematic Literature Review (SLR) Chapter 2: A brief bridging chapter considering methodological and ethical implications Chapter 3: An empirical research project Chapter 4: A reflective synthesis considering the professional implications of the thesis Chapter 1: The purpose of the Systematic Literature Review (SLR) is to identify how Teacher-Student relationships (TSR), which may be defined as ‘a special type of positive interpersonal relationship that students can develop with some of their teachers’, influence students’ wellbeing. The review particularly focuses on teachers’ everyday relational practice. A meta-ethnography was conducted to analyse six papers, following a comprehensive and detailed process of searching and selecting papers. The six papers consider student, teacher, support staff, and head teachers’ perspectives of TSR and how they influence wellbeing. The papers originate from different countries and cultures from Norway, Spain, and England. Systematic Literature Review: A model was developed from the findings of the metaethnography proposing themes that influence TSR promotion of student wellbeing. The model includes five supportive themes: Adapting for the Individual, Climate, Respect, Open Communication, and Acceptance. In contrast, the model offers three refutational themes of Difficulties Establishing a Classroom Climate, Teachers’ Role Boundaries, and Challenges of the standards agenda. The findings and model offer insight and reflections for TSR and wellbeing at the individual, group, and whole school level considering relational practice, pedagogical climate, and whole school processes. This chapter offers insight into how TSR develops in practice through implementing adaptations, building time to get to know each other through informal conversations, the importance of teachers’ interpersonal skills, and developing respect. Additionally, there is consideration of the wider political performativity climate and the role of teachers. Chapter 2: This chapter aims to link the journey from the SLR to empirical research by considering the rationale and personal motivations. Key underpinning psychology is discussed considering humanistic and person-centered approaches. Further to this, the philosophical assumptions are discussed in relation to methodology. Additionally, ethical considerations and reflexivity are considered. Chapter 3: The empirical research explores young people's perspectives of wellbeing in a secondary school context, specifically to identify their views of how relationships and other school factors influence wellbeing. A qualitative method was implemented by conducting individual semi-structured interviews to understand the experiences of eight Year 9 students. A universal perspective of students’ experiences was sought; therefore, no specific subgroups were identified. Four of the pupils were considered to have Special Educational Needs (SEN) therefore the study includes perspectives from a Young Carer, English as an Additional Language, Autism Spectrum Condition, and Looked after Child. A Diamond Ranking activity was used as an icebreaker activity to support the semi-structured interview, focusing the discussion on the secondary school context, and encouraging participation. Linking to the findings demonstrated in the meta-ethnography, I wished to continue to explore TSR relationships; however, the scope was broadened to include student-student v relationships. The empirical project was undertaken in three secondary schools in the North East of England. The study adopts a qualitative approach, using semi-structured interviews to explore students’ perspectives. The data was analysed using a Thematic Analysis approach. Findings: The analysis has revealed the importance of supportive friendships for seeking support for wellbeing and further outlined the TSR role. Findings are discussed concerning the relationship between school relationships and individual factors such as student resilience and the perception of others. Furthermore, whole-school approaches such as approaches to increase understanding of wellbeing and specialist emotional support through trained members of school staff were highlighted. Additionally, the social and emotional climate of the classroom alongside meaningful learning opportunities were discussed. Chapter 4: This chapter includes a reflective synthesis exploring the professional and academic learning acquired throughout the research process. The chapter also explores the dissemination of the research.
Description: D.App. Ed.Psy Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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