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Dissertation help needed

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by prinea90, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. prinea90

    prinea90 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have read quite a few threads on here regarding dissertation questions so I apologise if this makes you roll your eyes because you've heard it all before.

    I am a 3rd year primary education student about to start my dissertation. I initially really wanted to something around Mental Health and anxiety but was advised to steer away from it as parents and teachers still tend to avoid the term "mental health". My other concern is that this topic might be viewed as more of a "psychology" topic than an educational one. I would still like to touch on it in some way and thought about maybe looking at mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness in the primary school but I am struggling to come up with a variable.
    So far I have thought of how mindfulness impacts children with anxiety, how mindfulness impacts behaviour, mindfulness CBT...
    I am on placement at the minute in a year 4 class so I don't think Mindfulness and exam related stress would work.

    I have posted this in the SEND section only because I wasn't quite sure what category it would fall under.

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter


    This is actually a fairly well researched area in many ways, a quick look here on open access searches is a potential starter:

    https://www-frontiersin-org.bathspa...n attention and psychological well-being.#all

    Any effective library search will find a lot more. I did a simple search limiting to articles since 2010, with mindfullness, anxiety and primary school as keywords, and found in excess of 70.

    I think your supervisor is correct in steering you away from mental health. This is mostly because as a student, and not a psychology student, it would be debatable whether you were qualified to either carry out the research or to re-assure parents about your suitability to conduct such research. In such sensitive areas, trust is so important, as is the necessity to ensure that you do not put students at risk of harm.

    However, if you wanted to pursue mindfulness, why not something fairly straight forward such as introducing 5minute mindfulness to a class each morning for a period of time, and use a general happiness questionnaire as a before/after measurement technique?

    Be aware that for a dissertation at this level, there is a limit to what you can research and reasonably establish within the word limit and resources you have. Confine it to something fairly straight forward and measurable.

    This sort of topic will require a degree of mixed-methods, because any questionnaire you use will be open to interpretation etc. But it would provide a useful opportunity for reflective practice and perhaps some meta-cognitive opportunities for your students? i.e. If they feel happier at one point rather than another, you can encourage them to think about why that is etc. Do they feel it helps at school? If so, why/not? etc. Meta-cognition is well established as having a value for students, perhaps you could hypothesise that mindfulness would give students that sort of opportunity? (all random ideas!)

    Good luck :) Feel free to pm me if you wish.
    Stiltskin likes this.
  3. prinea90

    prinea90 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I think you're right about the psychology route. Since posting this thread I have started to look into "growth mindset". Do you know much about this? I was thinking of giving the children a child friendly questionnaire regarding their attitudes to learning, school and intelligence. Then carrying out growth mindset interventions or just simply incorporating it into my lessons each day and then giving them the same questionnaire at the end of my placement.
  4. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    There is a Mindfulness in Schools Project that you may be able to get some information to help you decide on your focus.

    You could also perhaps look at the benefits of mindfulness on teaching staff as well as on the students? Perhaps look at how it can help when dealing with issues of behaviour management
  5. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I did see an article on this when searching, will dig it up later.
  6. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    What is your word limit?

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