Implementing Change in Practice Following Staff In-Service Training on Attachment and Resilience: An Action Research Study
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This two phase study investigated the role of Educational Psychologists (EPs), in supporting school staff to transfer learning, from training about attachment and resilience into their practice. Of the various types of action research, this study focused on practical action research, using a responsive model design (Schmuck, 2006). Therefore findings from paper 1 informed the actions in paper 2. The researcher adopted a process consultancy role (Kemmis, 2007), which supported staff to identify and address concerns related to training transfer. The two papers view knowledge in terms of its usefulness for developing practice and therefore operate on the principles of a pragmatic approach. Using a mixed methods approach, the first paper and phase of the research examined the views of staff working in schools on their experiences of how training transfers to practice. In particular, paper 1 aims were to: 1) Determine if (and how) staff have changed their practice following the Multi Agency Attachment and Resilience Group (MAARG) training. 2) Identify what the supporting factors and barriers are perceived to be relevant to implementing or transferring the knowledge gained from the MAARG training, in their daily practice with children and young people. Key findings showed workplace factors such as communication and staff support, to influence staff’s experiences of training transfer. Barriers to implementation were also identified by staff (e.g. time constraints). These findings informed the second phase of the research, where staff were supported to develop capacity, and plan and implement actions to facilitate change. A case study approach was used to develop and evaluate a group intervention for school staff in two schools. This phase had three main aims: 1) To develop a programme which would further support staff to apply relevant knowledge learnt through training, to solve real life problems in their work. 2) To evaluate the processes of the programme of support, in terms of the fidelity of implementation, knowledge use, staff engagement and method acceptability (i.e. the 7 degree to which staff perceive the structure and processes of the programme to be suitable). 3) To evaluate the effectiveness of the programme of support, in terms of immediate outcomes. Process and outcome evaluations were carried out using a mixed methods approach. Key findings showed staff benefited from the intervention programme. The structured group consultation process enabled staff to work efficiently, share responsibilities whilst problem solving, and agree and implement actions with colleagues. Staff applied practical and experiential knowledge when solving problems, with little explicit links to training or research knowledge. Both papers reflect on the role of EPs within the contexts of training implementation. Sections 4 and 5 draw on the findings from both papers, and discuss implications for EP practice.
Doctor of Educational Psychology in Educational, Child and Community Psychology