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Volume 3, No. 2

2017

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Editorial

Cite as:
Thomas, M. (2017). Editorial. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 1. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017


Dr Miles Thomas
School of Psychology, University of East London
Page 1

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Articles

Abstract

Listening to children is comprehensively acclaimed and embedded in Educational Psychology practice and moral, pragmatic and legal perspectives, and professional guidance exist to enforce this practice. Whilst a variety of tools have been explored for listening to children using various techniques, research is yet to focus on using philosophical/spiritual listening approaches with children with special educational needs. This paper targets this specific area by exploring the experiences and impact of using a spiritual listening tool, The Little Box of Big Questions (2012), and follow-up questions to enable reflection opportunities. Data was collected over four sessions with four children aged 13 to 14 with social, emotional, behavioural and moderate learning needs who attended a specialist school for moderate learning needs. Semi-structured interviews, alongside a teacher focus group, informed the thematic analysis, with findings suggesting that relationships, education and feelings about themselves and others not only play a role in students’ lives but are also areas of perceived improvements following the sessions. Implications for educational psychologists were discussed, including a greater understanding of the use and impact of The Little Box of Big Questions with children with special educational needs to elicit aspirations, enable goal setting and motivate change.

Cite as:
Robinson, N., Bunn, H., & Gersch. (2017). A preliminary study on using the “Little Box of Big Questions (2012)” for children with social, emotional, behavioural and moderate learning needs. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 2–18. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017

Dr Nina Robinson, Dr Helena Bunn and Professor Irvine Gersch
University of East London
Pages 2–18

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Abstract

Working memory (WM) is recognised as universally foundational to children’s learning. While computerised training programmes can increase working memory capacity, their application in school contexts may be limited by resources and pedagogy, which may restrict use to pupils with the greatest difficulty. This research presents findings from a preliminary evaluation into the effectiveness of a novel, six-week, whole-class working memory programme, which involved pairs of children undertaking daily card-based activities within a single mainstream primary school classroom, involving 24 eight- and nine-year-old children. Post and follow-up measures demonstrated significant gains in children’s working memory and verbal short-term memory, with large effect sizes. While promising, these results should be interpreted with caution due to the sample size and age of participants. Before it can be concluded that this working memory training programme holds potential to increase children’s capacity to learn and achieve, further research needs to establish its usefulness for children with the most prominent WM difficulties, justify its application for children without WM difficulties and eliminate the possibility that gains could have occurred as a result of task-specific learning.

Cite as:
Skelton, R., & Atkinson, C. (2017). Increasing children’s working memory capacity: Preliminary evaluation of a card-based programme. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 19–35. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017

Richard Skelton and Dr Cathy Atkinson
University of Manchester
Pages 19–35

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Abstract

Dogs have been working in partnership with humans for thousands of years, in roles ranging from hunter to herder to faithful companion. In the last century, a new role has emerged for man’s best friend — that of a therapist. The availability of canine therapy programmes for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder is increasing worldwide, and both the media and the general population are lauding these canine therapists for the marvellous work they are completing. As educational psychologists, it is essential that we understand the evidence base these claims are rising from so that we are better able to advise and discuss the pros and cons of such interventions with schools and families.

Cite as:
Leonard, M. (2017). A child’s best friend?: A review of canine interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 36–43. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017

Matthew Leonard
University of East London
Pages 36–43

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Abstract

The health and emotional wellbeing of young people have increasingly come under the spotlight over the years. This is particularly so for young people who have sensory/physical or medical needs as, along with the pressures of adolescence and growing up, they also face many barriers and issues to do with their disabilities. However, there has not been much written about in terms of targeted emotional support and interventions around emotional wellbeing for this population. In light of this gap, the Educational Psychology Service of Tower Hamlets and Public Health became involved in a project called “Time To Talk”.

This offered thirty-six young people with sensory/physical/medical needs in seven local secondary schools a chance to participate in a counselling based intervention involving therapeutic conversations. Various approaches taken from solution-focused thinking, motivational interviewing and cognitive behaviour therapy were used to guide the conversations. The intervention was short term, offering young people up to six sessions, each for a maximum of 50 minutes. Evaluation of the project was through a mixture of pre- and post-scaling before and after the intervention as well as qualitative information from comments the young people made.

Overall, there was a generally positive impact, with many young people feeling better able to manage their situations and decreasing in their concerns and generally feeling well listened to. Their schools also acknowledged some positive changes and valued the input. In conclusion, the project highlighted a number of important themes to emerge from the conversations with the young people such as: wanting to have independence and autonomy, transition and future aspirations, coping with anxiety and stress and relationship issues. The project also demonstrates how partnerships between the Educational Psychology service and different commissioning bodies can lead to creative and imaginative ways of working. After all, educational psychologists can be well placed to offer early interventions for emotional wellbeing before situations reach crisis point, due to their psychological training and experience of working with young people and community and school settings.

Cite as:
Syeda, M. (2015). Time to talk: The benefits of therapeutic conversations in supporting young people with sensory/physical and medical disabilities. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 44–49. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017

Meher Syeda
University of East London
Pages 44–49

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Abstract

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the behavioural manifestation of autism spectrum condition (ASC) differs between males and females, and there may be a female-specific phenotype of the condition (Lai, Lombardo, Auyeung, Chakrabarti, & Baron-Cohen, 2015). However, current conceptualisations of ASC have been developed predominately from samples of males, meaning our understanding of the condition may be male-biased (Kirkovski, Enticott, & Fitzgerald, 2013). Consequently, ASC in females may be under-diagnosed because current assessments are based on a male-specific manifestation of the condition (Mandy et al., 2012). This paper begins with a review of qualitative literature exploring the experiences of females with ASC. Building upon identified themes, quantitative research is reviewed to ascertain whether there are sex/gender differences in four areas of the hypothesised ASC female phenotype. Preliminary evidence suggests there may be sex/gender differences in ASC, but more research is needed to fully substantiate this conclusion.

Cite as:
Wood, H., & Wong, B. (2017). The hypothesised female ASC phenotype: Implications for research and practice. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 50–58. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017

Henry Wood and Bonnie Wong
University of Southampton
Pages 50–58

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Book Reviews

Cite as:
Berridge, L. (2017). [Review of the book Frameworks for practice in educational psychology (2nd ed.), by B. Kelly, L. M. Woolfson, & J. Boyle]. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 3(2), 59–60. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/psychology/research/educational-psychology-research-and-practice/volume-3-no-2-2017

Laurence Berridge
University of East London
Pages 59–60

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