Developing capacity for social and emotional growth: an action research project

Mary Doveston

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This article reports an action research project in which children, their teacher and the author, and an advisory teacher from a Local Authority collaborated as co-researchers in a project to improve working relationships in the classroom. Both appreciative enquiry and emancipatory research informed the project. This article focuses on one aspect of the project: the development of active listening skills. In an initial consultation, the teacher described her difficulty in teaching a mixed-year class of 7–9-year-old children who had difficulties in functioning as a group. During the initial whole class consultation, the themes that emerged as pertinent for making the class more fun to be in were: listening, caring and co-operating. Three strands: greetings, active listening and co-operative activities were explored during eight multi-sensory sessions and applied during class time over a period of three months. The results produced evidence of improvement in promoting listening and social skills. It was, however, the inductive aspects of the Action Research process that were the most illuminating, leading to a better understanding of the complex interplay of factors that contribute to improved working relationships within a class. The knowledge and insights discovered through action research and collaborative working are at least as important as specific skill training and were seen as integral to the emotional and social development of teachers and children.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPastoral Care in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


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