Iona Towler-Evans – PhD Student Profile

Iona Towler-Evans – PhD Student Profile

Thesis Title: Teaching Young People on the Edge: How the Agency and Identities of Marginalised Learners changed When Heathcote’s Dramatic Pedagogy Was Used with Young People Identified as ‘At Risk of NEET.’ (Not in Education and Training)

Supervisors: Professor Mairtin Mac an Ghail, Dr Michael Seal and Dr Linda Enow.

The engagement of disaffected young people in learning is of concern to all educators. I report on a teacher-as-researcher study during the 2016-17 academic year of a group of sixteen young people at a tertiary college, identified as ‘at risk of NEET.’(Marsh, 2009, p. 32) A young person can too easily over time come to identify him or herself with a self-fulfilling deficit ‘fixed mind-set’ (Dweck,2007) regarding him or herself relative to others negatively, for example, as ‘a failure’ or as ‘not good at learning. Using Positioning theory (Harré, R. and Van Langenhove,L.(1999), I was able to analyse the shifting positions of three young people who formed my case studies. Using ethnographic methods, I documented their changing agency and identities (Holland et al,1998; Holland and Lave, 2001), when using Dorothy Heathcote’s Commissioning Pedagogy (2000).


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