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An exploration of four to seven year olds’ perceptions of their own behaviour with comparisons to peers, class teachers and teaching assistants

An exploration of four to seven year olds’ perceptions of their own behaviour with comparisons to peers, class teachers and teaching assistants

Rix, Katie Rose (2015) An exploration of four to seven year olds’ perceptions of their own behaviour with comparisons to peers, class teachers and teaching assistants. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

Children aged four to seven years, experience social and cognitive changes and may exhibit a variety of aggressive (Monks, Smith, & Swettenham, 2003), prosocial (Sebanc, 2003) and solitary behaviours (Coplan & Ooi, 2014), which are related to positive and negative outcomes. Research in this area has tended to adopt methods using reports from peers and adults, and hypothetical scenarios presented to children.

This thesis is original in showing that young children can also offer unique insights into their own behaviour by providing self-reports and explanations. These insights vary across different forms of behaviour and over the course of a school year. This research also employed an original method. Stick figure animations were developed to collect behaviour reports from children on a three-point scale. Furthermore, a cohort sequential design with 273 participants was used to assess how children’s reported perceptions changed longitudinally over three time points, and cross-sectionally across two year groups.

Reports of children’s behaviour were also collected from peers, Class Teachers, and Teaching Assistants. Children’s self-reports of solitary and prosocial behaviour tended to be higher than other reporters’. Self-reports of aggressive behaviour tended to be lower than other reporters. Agreement between self-reports and reports from others mostly increased over time.

Children’s self-reports were categorised into one of five clusters at each time point: prosocial / social, solitary, low behavioural levels, excluders, and antisocial / solitary. There were no consistent patterns in cluster and age group, time point, or sex.

Children’s behaviour explanations were mostly focused on causes, rather than consequences, Agency was mostly external. Outcome focus was more varied across forms of behaviour. Explanations became more consequential over time and there was some variation in explanations by children’s self-reported ratings.

Findings are discussed in relation to literature and research, developmental theories, implications for future research, and work in schools.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.676647
Uncontrolled Keywords: children's behaviour; psychology; developmental theories;
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2017 10:46
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/14130

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