The relationship between pragmatic language competence and school exclusion: an interactionist perspective

Owen, Zoe (2014). The relationship between pragmatic language competence and school exclusion: an interactionist perspective. University of Birmingham. Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.

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In the UK school exclusion is conceived as a disciplinary measure in response to breaches of a school’s behaviour policy, it is also noted that unwanted behaviour can result from unmet need (DfE, 2012). The link between previously unidentified verbal language difficulties and unwanted behaviour has been well-evidenced; a smaller body of research has evidenced a link with pragmatic language abilities. Much research has been conducted in a clinical paradigm, with results interpreted within a deficit model. The aim of this thesis was to investigate if there was evidence of less well-developed pragmatic language competence in children at-risk of school exclusion, and if so, interpret the results through an interactionist perspective. Data was gathered using the Children’s Communication Checklist: 2nd Edition (Bishop, 2003) on a sample of children at-risk of school exclusion (n=29). Results indicated that 77% of the sample had significantly less well-developed pragmatic language abilities than a matched sample. A probabilistic causal relationship is proposed, incorporating environmental factors as intervening variables that potentially determine risk of exclusion. Future directions involve research to test this proposed relationship. Findings suggest that professionals should consider the interaction between demands of the communicative environment and a child’s communicative profile when considering interventions to address unwanted behaviour.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics


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