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Academic self-concept in inclusive secondary settings: Why it matters

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Academic self-concept is arguably one of the most important influences for optimal educational, career and life outcomes. It relates to student perceptions of their accomplishments, competence and expectations around success and failure. Educators play a key role. The research presented is a case study analysis, within a sociocultural framework, which provided findings through the personal experiences of students with diverse learning needs. School records, interviews and psychometric instruments provided data, primarily from the students, but also from their families and teachers. The two instruments used were the Behavioural Assessment System for Children 2nd edition, and the Piers- Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale 2nd edition. Analytical tools employed included descriptive statistics and thematic content analysis using the Leximancer Program (Smith & Humphries, 2006). Findings provide new understandings about the psychosocial influences on academic self-concept for secondary-school students with diverse learning needs. Influences are primarily from teachers and secondly from peers. Recommendations to support stakeholders will be shared with a view to contribution to scholarship and future research to scaffold practice.

A Research Fellow and Lecturer at Griffith University, Australia, Dr Geraldine Townend seeks to extend understanding of diversity, inclusivity and underachievement, and to empower students and their educators to achieve the best educational outcomes. She researches and publishes within the sociocultural paradigm (such as The International Journal of Educational Research, Digital Culture & Education Journal, Cogent, and Palgrave Macmillan 2015-2018 plus others forthcoming 2019). Her research has focussed on the link between students’ academic self-concept and their educational outcomes, particularly the importance of social comparison theory, and she is particularly interested in the importance of the interaction between teachers and students. Geraldine also provides schools, families and national media (Australia) with support around school-based strategies to enable optimal educational outcomes within the inclusive classroom.

This talk is part of the Arts and Creativities Research Group series.

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