Posted: September 17th, 2017
You have been asked to undertake some research by a senior manager who is responsible for setting up a new apprenticeship scheme for young people. They will join the scheme straight from school at age 16.
The manager is experienced and well qualified. She is particularly interested to understand whether some of the ideas contained in Professor Guy Claxton’s paper (Claxton, G. (2007) Expanding Young People’s Capacity to Learn, British Journal of Educational Studies, 55:2, 115-134) could be utilised to create a learning environment that encourages students no only to learn new skills but to improve their capacity to learn.
The paper has a focus on students at school but the concepts it contains may well be applicable to young adults.
The manager’s team has selected 150 students who will start the apprenticeship scheme in 6 weeks’ time. The number of academic qualifications (GCSE O level grade C or above) obtained by the students is mixed. The least number of qualifications is 2 GCSE O levels (Maths and English – everyone has to have these two) and the highest number is 10. There are 80 male students and 70 female.
The manager is interested in developing leaning capacity in the apprentices. She wants you to investigate how it may be possible to conduct some research studies to investigate whether there is a link between learning qualities, learning disposition and achievement of individual students. Achievement will be measured by progress through the students’ apprenticeship studies. These studies are formally assessed and involve demonstrating skills and knowledge in the production of practical projects. For example; a project might be to produce copy for an advertisement, developing a cash flow analysis using a spreadsheet or developing a resource plan using Gantt charting.
You must advise on the research that might be conducted. You are to produce a research proposal that includes the following headings (text in bold is your section heading).
1. Defining the research problem 2. The purpose of the research 3. The key research question(s). 4. Suggested research paradigm (including reasons for choice) 5. Suggested research methods (give two options and discuss any problems with each method) 6. Are there any ethical considerations that need addressing? 7. Learning theory – Are there alternative points of view to Claxton’s that might make an over reliance on this paper problematic? ( you need to undertake a mini literature review) 8. Your recommendations to the client
The following points for the Claxton article are critical but you should read the whole article for a better understanding.
Critical points for consideration Learning qualities
‘Effective learners are thought to be capable of being: • curious, adventurous and questioning • resilient, determined and focused • open-minded, flexible, imaginative and creative • critical, sceptical and analytical • both methodical and opportunistic • reflective, thoughtful and self-evaluative • keen to build on their products and performances • collaborative but also independent.’
Read part three of the Claxton paper. This starts on page 119.
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