Theoretical approaches underpinning educational psychologists’ practice in district-based support teams

Venter, Lisa Eve (2012-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Includes bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There has been a paradigm shift occurring in the field of educational psychology over the last few decades from a predominantly medical approach towards a more inclusive and systemic approach. This development has called for a change in the way educational psychologists conceptualise problems, as well as an expansion in their practices in order to provide effective support services. However, the question arose which theoretical approach educational psychologists currently espouse and implement. This study therefore endeavoured to explore the theoretical approaches underpinning educational psychologists’ practice, with a focus on those professionals working within District Based Support Teams (DBSTs) in the Western Cape.Within this broad aim, the research aimed to identify which theoretical approach(es) the educational psychologists personally espouse and which theoretical approach(es) is/are espoused within the DBSTs. A further objective was to determine what the practice of their theory-in-use entailed. This information would ascertain whether the educational psychologists’ espoused theories and theory-in-use correspond. Qualitative research within the interpretive/constructivist paradigm was employed for the research design. The participants included eight educational psychologists practising within District-Based Support Teams (DBSTs) in the Western Cape. Data was collected by means of an extensive literature review, self-administered questionnaires and individual interviews and analysed using qualitative thematic analysis and interpretation. The key findings of this research revealed that the educational psychologists in this study personally espouse a systemic approach to their practice of educational psychology. However, it was revealed that this approach is not necessarily adopted by all members of the DBSTs. Furthermore, the educational psychologists themselves experience many challenges in implementing this theory. Their theory-in-use at the Education District Offices incorporates both medical and systemic approaches. Assessment of learners is largely based on a medical model, whilst the interventions and support they provide appeared to be focused on a more systemic level. It was concluded that the theory that the educational psychologists personally espouse; the theory espoused within DBSTs; and the theory-in-use within the DBSTs, do not entirely correspond.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ’n Paradigma skuif wat die laaste paar dekades plaasgevind het in die veld van opvoedkundige sielkunde, het meegebring dat die benadering verander het vanaf ‘n hoofsaaklik mediese model na ‘n meer inklusiewe en sisteem gebaseerde model. Hierdie ontwikkeling vra dat opvoedkundige sielkundiges probleme op nuwe maniere konseptualiseer, asook hul praktyk uitbrei om effektiewe ondersteuningsdienste te kan verskaf. Die vraag watter teoretiese benaderings opvoedkundige sielkundiges tans onderskryf en implementeer, het onstaan. Hierdie studie poog dus om te ondersoek watter teoretiese raamwerke opvoedkundige sielkundiges se praktyke onderlê, en fokus op die opvoedkundige sielkundiges wat werk binne die Distriksgebaseerde Ondersteuningsspanne (DBSTs) in die Wes-Kaap. Binne hierdie breë doelwit, word deur die navorsing gepoog om die teoretiese benadering(s) wat opvoedkundige sielkundiges binne die DBSTs persoonlik aanhang sowel as die teoretiese benadering(s) wat binne hierdie DBSTs gepropageer word, te identifiseeer. ‘n Verdere mikpunt was om vas te stel wat die deelnemers se praktyk (teorie-in-gebruik) behels. Hierdie inligting sou dit moontlik maak om vas te stel of die teorie voorgestaan en die teorie-in-gebruik ooreenstem. Kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie vanuit ‘n interpretatiewe/konstruktivistiese paradigma is gebruik in die ontwerp van die navorsing. Die deelnemers was ag opvoedkundige sielkundiges wat binne die DBSTs van die Wes-Kaap praktiseer. Data is versamel deur ‘n uitgebreide literatuur oorsig, self ingevulde oop vraelyste en individuele onderhoude. Die data is geanaliseer deur van kwalitatiewe tematiese analise en interpretasie gebruik te maak. Die kernbevindinge van die studie het gedui op ‘n sistemiese benadering tot hul praktyk, wat deur die opvoedkundige sielkundiges persoonlik onderskryf word. Die bevindige het ook gedui daarop dat nie al die lede van die DBSTs dit aangeneem het nie. Verder ervaar die opvoedkundige sielkundiges self verskeie uitdagings ten opsigte van die implementering van sodanige teoretiese benadering. Die teorie-in-gebruik binne die Onderwys Distrikskantore bevat beide mediese model benaderings sowel as meer sistemiese benaderings. Die assessering van leerders is grootliks gebaseer op ‘n mediese model, terwyl die intervensies en ondersteuning wat gebied word blyk meer sistemiese onderlê te wees. Dit kom dus vooras of die teorie wat opvoedkundige sielkundiges persoonlik aanhang, die teorie wat binne die DBSTs onderskryf word, en die teorie-in-gebruik binne die DBSTs nie noodwendig ooreenkom nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71765
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