Dr Dave Putwain

Dr Dave Putwain

A prestigious research grant has been awarded to Edge Hill University to explore the ways in which teachers communicate the value of GCSEs to students and what impact these messages have.

Dr Dave Putwain, Reader in Psychology has secured a British Academy Leverhulme Small Research Grant of £10,000 with Richard Remedios from the University of Durham to support an on-going project to look at student motivation, learning and achievement.

In this project, he will focus on the messages Key Stage 4 teachers communicate to students in Years 10 and 11 about the importance of their GCSEs. The aim is to find out if these are successful in influencing students’ beliefs and motivations about the value of their exams.

The research will also examine how individual characteristics influence whether these messages are interpreted differently by students.

This latest work builds on Dr Putwain’s extensive research around the psychological factors that influence and which in turn are influenced by learning and achievement, particularly fear-of-failure, motivation, competence beliefs and the classroom environment.

Explaining more about the project, Dr Putwain said: “A key part of the research will look at the learning environment and how this can influence student motivation. As well as the lessons they plan and deliver, the classroom teacher is central to creating and maintaining a positive learning environment through the values they promote and their relationships with students. We want to know whether what they are saying is having a positive or negative impact.

“These messages are very important because they will determine whether a student will aspire to have a good job, go into further education, or simply not care about whether they achieve or not. It can have a real impact on the route they choose to take and their own self-esteem.”

He added: “The findings from the study will allow us to identify which messages are most effective for which groups of students. We plan to share this information with the educational community and eventually integrate findings into initial teacher training courses.”

Teachers are being invited to participate in this project by completing a series of short questionnaires. It does not matter what subject you teach, what level of experience you have or the type of students you teach. For more information about the project and to register your interest to take part in the survey, visit the website www.edgehill.ac.uk/psychology/valueproject/.