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Activating children's thinking skills (ACTS) an intervention evaluation study.

Dewey, J.L.; (2006) Activating children's thinking skills (ACTS) an intervention evaluation study. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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This study investigated the impact of an infusion intervention on the cognitive, emotional and social development of Year 4 and Year 5 children across 10 schools in a large county. A two year intervention period was utilised to ascertain effects over time and contexts to monitor transfer and maintenance (Blagg, 1991 McGuinness, 1993 McKinstery & Topping, 2003). The project provided a unique contribution to the specialist sphere of thinking skills by using an experimental and matched waiting list control group to overcome limitations of earlier research design (Blagg, 1991 DfEE, 1999 Gorodetsky et al., 2002 Sternberg & Bhana, 1986). A multi-method pre, post and delayed post test using standardised measures across a range of learner outcomes developed research further in the domain of student effects in the primary age range (Coles, 1999 Nisbet, 1993 McKinstery & Topping, 2003 Watkins et al., 2001 Wilson, 2000). Furthermore, the research offered a distinctive insight into the perceptions of the key players involved through triangulated qualitative analysis which, unlike earlier studies examined the practicalities of the program in real life educational environments (Higgins et al., 2004 McGuinness, 2003 TES, 2002 Topping, 2002 Wilson, 2000). Key findings demonstrate the impact of the ACTS intervention on enhancing children's cognitive abilities over a two year as opposed to a one year intervention period. This resonates with similar studies in which such an extended time period is considered essential to generate cognitive change (Blagg, 1991 Feuerstein et al., 1980 Shayer & Adey, 1993). Correspondingly qualitative data from students and staff illustrate that children were not only able to detail the range of thinking skills taught but describe application. This evidenced transfer in both the near and far contexts an area ignored in prior work (Blagg, 1991 DfEE, 1999 McGuinness, 2003 Wilson, 2000). Additional effects linked the teaching of thinking to social and emotional gains of children in line with the evidence base (Blagg, 1991 Lipman et al., 1980 McKinstery & Topping, 2003). Considerable impact was, likewise, apparent in relation to the professional development of staff in terms of both skills and knowledge as paralleled in other studies (McGuinness et al., 1997 McKinstery & Topping, 2003 Munro, 1999 Stewart & Smardon, 2002). The research is of significance in strengthening both the empirical and theoretical evidence base in the teaching of thinking skills by evaluating infusion. Important implications for both the psychological knowledge base and educational psychology practice are made. Of particular significance are the application of such programmes within curriculum contexts alongside the professional artistry required to ensure effectiveness (McGuinness, 2003 McKinstery & Topping, 2003 Topping 2002). This will form the focus of future studies with evaluation necessitated to determine the relative value of core components within cognitive instruction. The growing interest in the area makes it of particular pertinence for ongoing EP scientific scrutiny. As McGuinness (1999) argues "The idea of thinking classrooms and schools as thinking communities, requires further articulation and interpretation, and the research base is in its infancy' (p.30). This is an area ripe for development and it is argued that educational psychologists should focus their efforts on helping teachers to translate theory into practice into the classroom.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Activating children's thinking skills (ACTS) an intervention evaluation study.
Identifier: PQ ETD:592021
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1444712
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