Loneliness and classroom participation in adolescents with learning disabilities : a social cognitive view

Wainman, Briony Mary (2010) Loneliness and classroom participation in adolescents with learning disabilities : a social cognitive view. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Abstract

Students with learning disabilities (LD) often experience significant feelings of loneliness. There is some evidence to suggest that these feelings of loneliness may be related to social difficulties that are linked to their learning disability. Adolescents experience more loneliness than any other age group, primarily because this is a time of identity formation and self-evaluation. Therefore, adolescents with learning disabilities are highly likely to experience the negative feelings of loneliness. Many areas of educational research have highlighted the impact of negative feelings on learning. This begs the question, =are adolescents with learning disabilities doubly disadvantaged in regard to their learning?‘ That is, if their learning experience is already problematic, does loneliness exacerbate these learning difficulties? This thesis reveals the findings of a doctoral project which examined this complicated relationship between loneliness and classroom participation using a social cognitive framework. In this multiple case-study design, narratives were constructed using classroom observations and interviews which were conducted with 4 adolescent students (2 girls and 2 boys, from years 9-12) who were identified as likely to be experiencing learning disabilities. Discussion is provided on the method used to identify students with learning disabilities and the related controversy of using disability labels. A key aspect of the design was that it allowed the students to relate their school experiences and have their stories told. The design included an ethnographic element in its focus on the interactions of the students within the school as a culture and elements of narrative inquiry were used, particularly in reporting the results. The narratives revealed all participants experienced problematic social networks. Further, an alarmingly high level of bullying was discovered. Participants reported that when they were feeling rejected or were missing a valued other they had little cognitive energy for learning and did not want to be in school. Absenteeism amongst the group was high, but this was also true for the rest of the school population. A number of relationships emerged from the narratives using social cognitive theory. These relationships highlighted the impact of cognitive, behavioural and environmental factors in the school experience of lonely students with learning disabilities. This approach reflects the social model of disability that frames the research.

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ID Code: 38536
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Brownlee, Joanne, Carrington, Suzanne, & Ryan, Mary
Keywords: loneliness, learning disabilities, classroom participation, social cognitive theory, social model of disability, social skills, bullying, peer-rejection, social perception, social awareness, constructionism, Bandura, ethnography, narrative
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 15 Nov 2010 23:20
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:44

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