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An autoethnographic exploration of creative self-efficacy (CSE)(University of Chester, 2018-09-28)This autoethnographic study investigates my self-perception of my artistic abilities which I posit as my Creative Self Efficacy (CSE). This is a part-practice thesis which uses arts-based research methods to investigate shifting self-perceptions and understandings of creativity and how these may have influenced my visual arts practice. CSE can be defined as one’s view of and belief in one’s creative abilities. Many scholars have written about the power of self-efficacy to condition behavioural choices, motivations and persistence. This research provides an autoethnographic enquiry into how these self-beliefs can shape, limit or enhance the possibilities for creative practice. The primary aim is to better understand the relationship between my own CSE and the influence of these on my creative practice. Arts-based methods enabled me to explore this territory, allowing a self-awareness to be developed through responding to the self-judgements and doubts experienced during the creative process. Reflexive resonances between these experiences of self-efficacy and pedagogical implications were made and framed through the lenses of theories such as habitus and my different roles of artist, teacher and researcher. Main findings include the influences of social comparisons, parental socialisation, and approaches and attitudes to art-making to my CSE, culminating in an experimental shift in practice which embraces a process approach. These findings suggest implications for pedagogical practices and approaches to art-making which demonstrate awareness of self-evaluative judgements and embrace uncertainty, ambiguity and not knowing.
A Comparison of the Characteristic Traits of Learning Theories in the Three Synoptic Gospels by Thematic Narrative Analysis(University of Chester, 2018-09-28)Many writers have discussed aspects of pedagogy in connection with the books of the New Testament but few have related pedagogical elements observable in the Gospels to current theories of how people learn and the consequent teaching methods. I perform, here, a thematic narrative analysis of the synoptic gospel texts, with the focus of contemporary approaches to learning and teaching. The project aims to identify traits of pedagogic themes throughout these gospels, with a view to establishing if it is appropriate to describe any of them as characterised by one or other of the commonly recognised theories of learning. While such a characterisation is not expected to be perfect across any one Synoptic, it could prove possible to demonstrate sufficient correlation with some theoretical learning model to argue that the gospel is typified by that pedagogy. This thesis also compares and contrasts the three synoptic gospels, in respect of their emphasis on those themes. The thesis outlines the salient features of the currently prominent learning and teaching approaches and considers the applicability of each model to this investigation. The three approaches found most useful for the analysis are: that referred to as behaviourism in teaching; a cognitive, constructivist pedagogic model; and the strongly situated learning theory. The synoptic gospels are examined for aspects of those themes, where possible, as a series of parallel passages, each regarded as a bounded text segment. Special Lukan material is also considered, separately. Any reader’s interpretation of such a narrative is constructed from within their own pre-existing framework for understanding it. My reading of the Gospels here is, therefore, a personal response to the text, which has arisen from my experience working in adult education and training. The conclusion of this work is that all three synoptic gospels exhibit textual features corresponding to a specific teaching and learning model sufficiently consistently to regard them as substantially informed by it. Furthermore, the Synoptics each exemplify a different pedagogical approach. Matthew’s gospel portrays a predominantly behaviourist pedagogy, the Gospel of Mark a generally cognitivist, constructivist approach to learning and teaching and Luke the characteristics of a strongly situative learning theory. It is anticipated that the comparison presented here will provide a new contribution to the discussion of the differences between the otherwise parallel accounts evident within the first three gospels.
Spiritual formation in secondary education: An investigation into how children use collective worship within secondary education(University of Chester, 2018-09-03)The past thirty years has witnessed significant changes in the practice of collective worship in UK schools, although the statutory requirements relating to collective worship have not changed since 1988. Predominantly, collective worship in schools is managed and delivered by adults. However I became aware, from my professional context and practice as a chaplain in a faithbased urban secondary school, little attention has been given to the ways children actually experience and make use of collective worship. The aim of my research has therefore been to gain a more child-centred perspective on collective worship, and to generate a deeper understanding of how children might use collective worship to reflect on their relationships and life experiences. My research methods reflect the aim to privilege the children’s voices: the primary data source comes from children’s own accounts of participating in collective worship, using a longitudinal qualitative method across four years. Using a definition drawn from Hay and Nye (1996, 2006) and Hyde (2008), the study employs thematic analysis to interpret the data using the framework of spirituality as relationship with God (or Transcendent), self and other (including people and the world). The results revealed in this study show that children construct collective worship as a sacred space in which they are able to reflect on their own understandings of God, faith and the world. Crucial to this process is an emerging sense of self and its connection with these relationships. Through critical reflection within collective worship children encounter a particular dynamic that I have identified as reluctance-permission-opportunity. I therefore argue this dynamic underpins a child’s evolving sense and awareness of faith and relationship with God, other and self, and represents aspects of a three-dimensional model of spiritual reflection and maturity. The study concludes that the sacred space of collective worship is actively constructed by the children, building on the established frameworks offered by the statutory provision of school-based collective worship. The constructed sacred space of collective worship is – for the children – precious, set apart, revelatory, special and life-changing. As such there is a sense of ownership by the children of this sacred space. This thesis suggests new approaches to researching and understanding children’s spirituality as well as implications for professional practice. It represents a contribution to knowledge by advancing a more nuanced understanding of children’s spiritual development than currently exists. The notion of a three-dimensional dynamic also offers a contribution to theoretical understandings of the concepts of spiritual formation. The findings of the research are seen as having implications for professional practice in collective worship by arguing for a child-centred approach to critical spiritual exploration and reflection, and therefore to the design and provision of collective worship.
A critical exploration of why some individuals with similar backgrounds do or do not become involved in deviant street groups and the potential implications for their future life choices.(University of Chester, 2018-08-30)This thesis will primarily address the issue of street gang involvement and non-involvement in gang prevalent areas of Merseyside. Specifically, it will address why some individuals with similar backgrounds do or do not become involved in deviant street groups and the potential implications for their future life choices. Reporting for the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) Cordis Bright Consulting (2015) have observed that when assessing young people bout whom there is concern because of violence and street gang involvement, practitioners should consider both risk and protective factors in five key domains: individual, peers, community, school and family. In determining the vulnerability and resilience of young people to gang membership on Merseyside, the study attempted to identify prominent variables within each of these domains and the research was undertaken with participants from a variety of marginalised locations of Merseyside. The study applied a hybrid approach consisting of Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM, Wengraf, 2001) as the means of data collection with Grounded Theory (GT) as the form of analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Two samples of participants were drawn from marginalised areas of Merseyside consisting of a total of 44 males age range 18-25 (one consisting of 26 gang involved participants (termed Deviant Street Group Members (DSGs)), and the second containing 11 non-gang participants (termed ‘Non-group Participants’ (NGPs) and 7 individuals identified as ex-gang participants (termed ‘ExDeviant Street Group participants’ (EDSGMs)). The findings draw attention to the considerable amount of social commentary and government policy that has intensified, pathologised and problemised the issue of gangs, gang membership and gang non-membership in the United Kingdom (UK). Moreover, they identify the effects of marginalisation and limited opportunity as the over-riding protagonists and highlight how young disenfranchised people, some more resilient than others cope with growing up in marginalised areas of Merseyside. In particular, contrary to the EIF’s observations that “family and peer group risk factors are not found to be strongly associated with gang membership as individual risk factors” (2015, p. 7), the study finds evidence that quality of parenting by fathers/father figures (family domain) and friendship networks (peer domain) together with the development of social capital can be key variables in the decision to become involved in or abstain from gang membership on Merseyside. Other factors identified, include the application of demonising government policies, the existence of edgework risk taking including criminal eroticism (individual domain) in young men and the impact of social migration (neighbourhood domain) on the decision to become involved, disengage or completely abstain from gangs was also noted to be significant.