“It’s the hardest conversation I’ve had to have” – A psychosocial exploration of teachers’ experiences of talking to children about terrorism

Denholm, Emma (2019) “It’s the hardest conversation I’ve had to have” – A psychosocial exploration of teachers’ experiences of talking to children about terrorism. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

The UK government threat level, used to mark the likelihood of a terrorist attack, has fluctuated between ‘critical’ and ‘severe’ over recent years. As a result, increased consideration is being given to the impact of terrorism on schools. This study is a psychosocial exploration of the experiences primary school teachers in Central London have of talking to the children about terrorism. Existing research in this area is limited, with the majority of research pertaining to the unique context of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York. This study aimed to add to the literature teachers’ individual experiences of talking to children about terrorism, with a view of exploring the impact this responsibility on the teachers themselves. The psychosocial approach considers responses to a phenomenon by drawing attention to unconscious processes that may be contributing to a behaviour or language. By bringing attention to these underlying processes, this study aimed to help professionals be more informed in understanding and supporting teachers to talk to children about terrorism. The methodology for this study was psychoanalytically informed, using Free Association Narrative Interviewing (FANI) to interview seven participants. Two interviews were conducted per participant, with points of interest from the first interview being extended on in the second interview. Thematic Analysis was used to analyse interview data, supported by contextual information from participants and reflexive field notes. Five themes were identified; ‘Context’, ‘Content’, ‘Process’, ‘Role of the Teacher’ and ‘Impact on Children’, and a further, interpretive layer of analysis explored these themes on a deeper level. The findings are discussed in relation to existing literature and psychological theory. Strengths and limitations of the current study are proposed, with consideration to possible further research in this area. The implications of the findings to current Educational Psychology practice are explored.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2441

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