University of Leicester
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Communication possibilities for children with major learning difficulties in school.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 09:15 authored by Violet (Violet R) Bruce
I set out to investigate possible channels of communication for children who were failing markedly in school, following up evidence that expressive activities offered avenues through which many otherwise unsuccessful pupils, could succeed and come to a learning situation. I visited many schools where I could observe and teach these children even for a short time; a day or a weekend, and in some cases making repeated visits covering a period of time. I travelled widely so that schools would be representative of differing communities. I travelled widely in the United States of America, visiting schools for slow lemming und otherwise handicapped children and depart-ments of special education in colleges and universities, so that I could learn somethingin a variety of State systems of American special educatian and the uses made of expressive work. These visits and investigations both here and in America confirmed my belief that the arts and all expressive work are of major importance for all children, but particularly for the children who are failing in school and particularly at this time in the progress of our educational system. I read widely, investigating our knowledge of learning processes and medical research on such problems as brain damage, and physical and mental maturation. I had opportunity for discussion with medical colleagues on such subjects as obesity and metabolism, causes and detection of pre-natal, peri-natal and post-natal brain damage, and the early detection of partial sightedness and deafness. I investigated the nature of maladjustment in children and its link with educational subnormality, and this led me to the relationship between subnormality and delinquency. I visited factories, observing the nature of the work which might be possible for the children with whom I am concerned and discussing with personnel managers the progress and difficulties encountered by some of their less able employees. I was led to study many relevant problems, such as that of measurement and competition in education, the difficulties of acquiring the right teachers with the system of remuneration we have operating, and the place of the least able children in comprehensive schemes. The first part of the study concerns the situation as I saw it and the related problems. The second part indicates the ways in which I believe teachers could use the expressive arts and allied activity to help these children to grow in personality and liveliness and to acquire the interest in find need far language, which may lead to a lasting literacy for them. Throughout these five years I have continued to study the expressive arts which seem to be most clearly concerned and the ways in which they can be applied to the teaching of these children. These arts are: movement and dance, drama, music, painting, modelling and creating with materials of all kinds, and the world of literature used in ways which do not necessitate the ability to read and write fluently. This thesis is based upon my own experience and observation of children over a wide area and throughout many years of teaching. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).


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Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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