A Teacher Exploring His Perceptions of His Class - Analysis and Differentiation
This page is a continuation of a repertory grid session in which an experienced teacher reflects on his perceptions of his class. It shows the ‘story’ of a session, including the introspections and comments which the teacher made as he was doing the session. This part explores Rating, Analysis and Differentiation
Back to: A Teacher Exploring His Perceptions of His Class - the beginning of the story.
Then we moved on to rating all the elements (children) on all the constructs. The dialog box looks like this:
NOTE: Screen shots on this page relate to an early version of Enquire Within.
(NB: the rating range can be set for up to a seven point scale. If during the rating process it seems that a construct doesn’t quite fit when applied to all the elements, it can be re-written).
The Enquire Within tool then does the dendritic analysis and presents the re-sorted Grid. The elements most closely correlated are placed together and the degree of correlation indicated by the ‘tree’ above; the same is done with the constructs (reversing them where necessary). On-screen facilities include the capacity to call up a list of elements or constructs, and a spyglass to identify each element or construct. The user’s analysis at this stage looked like this:
At this point it can be useful to simply look at the families. However, the Differentiation process does this systematically.
In Differentiation of elements the Enquire Within software let the user set a baseline for the correlations they want to explore, and then the dialog box for elements looks like this:
In other words, either Gemma and Latoyah are so close as to be clones (98% correlation) or they have to be different in way that the process has not yet captured. The user said No, and got the following screen (which includes his response) which effectively says: Prove it.
This produced the reflection summarised here:
When you and I went to school we didn’t even know the teachers’ first names, let alone anything about their private life. Our kids call us Mr or Miss or Mrs. But with LaToyah I can let her afford to see me as an adult. I don’t mean that I’d tell her my troubles, and there are very clear boundaries, but I’d feel OK about telling her that I was having an off day because the pipes burst, or that Julie had beaten me at the crossword at break, or the time when it was my assembly and I forgot the books. So I’d let her see me as a human being with ups and downs, makes mistakes, can laugh at myself, get cross with myself ... and I think that’s good for her because she’s a lovely perceptive kid anyway and it’s telling her that adults are human ... and (long pause) it’s starting her on the road of respecting people for what they do, not because they carry a title and are called Sir. It’s adding to her emotional maturity and it feels good for me too .... why? because it makes the relationship reciprocal, co-operative not coercive. Every teacher needs a few kids like that, to make up for the ones you have to watch every minute to see what they’re trying to get away with.
At this point he said Can you imagine doing this with a newly qualified teacher or someone on teaching practice? What a great tool for mentoring!
All the elements were then rated on the new construct and the Grid re-analysed, and we explored some more correlations between the elements. Then we went to the correlations between the constructs, for example:
The response to this was fascinating, on several levels. First, because Valerie, who was administering the session, had expected the teacher to combine the two constructs because on the surface they seem so similar. In fact he was certain that they were not, although defining the difference took some time (which is OK - introspection isn’t immediate). So the first lesson was for me: expert on Grid, been telling people how important it is not to construe other people’s construing, that Grid is free from observer bias – and I was about to fall into the trap I’d always warned other people about. Enquire Within really does let people work with their own language in their own terms, and Valerie had better remember this.
The second part was the user’s attempt to define the difference. He couldn’t do it instantly, so I got to eavesdrop on his conversation with himself, where he was working out the difference by examples. Excerpts from conversation: Gemma’s stable whatever the circumstances, Tess is much more affected by what’s going on in the peer group ... one’s got intellectual presence, but she’s not an intellectual snob, and the other has physical presence and gets what she wants through physical dominance ... there’s a kid called Melanie who’s been bullied and she’s like an eggshell, and Gemma understands but Tess manipulates her .... Tess doesn’t understand the consequences of her own actions, Gemma does ... Gemma’s arrival was a bit of a surprise for her mum, who was 41 at the time, and Gemma isn’t like her siblings, so Mum doesn’t really understand what she’s got her but she likes her nonetheless, Tess’s mother doesn’t give her much attention ... some kids can cope with a variety of situations, others can’t ... and then, some asides like it would be fascinating to do this about their families ... this is going to change the way I relate to Tess though don’t ask me what it is yet ...
What we had got from this difficult but important introspection was at least six new constructs:
|stable in any circumstances||-||affected by circumstances|
|intellectual snob||-||not an intellectual snob|
|has physical presence||-||doesn’t have physical presence|
|understands the consequences of her actions for others||-||doesn’t understand how she affects others|
|been bullied||-||hasn’t been bullied|
|parent(s) like her||-||parents don’t give her attention|
We had also collected some important introspections which are not necessarily constructs but are very important to the purpose.
Back to: Some Enquire Within Sample Sessions
- Education and the Repertory Grid Interview
- Some Resources for Understanding the Repertory Grid Interview
- ATHERTON J S (2005) Learning and Teaching: Personal Construct Theory
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