Lovecircles: A critical study of an emotion-based professional development programme for educators of children with special educational needs and disabilities
thesisposted on 2023-08-30, 14:22 authored by Hily Rosenblum
This study critiques an original professional development programme for educators, evolved by the researcher since 2001 and entitled 'Lovecircles'. The programme was conceived in Israel as a response to challenges faced by teachers working with children with special educational needs (SEN). The education programme is grounded in holistic-humanistic theories, aiming to achieve educators’ personal-emotional empowerment within their professional development. This approach views integration of emotion in teacher education as an integral part of their overall growth, essential for creating an atmosphere of trust with the pupils as well as conducting an empathic and respectful teacher-pupil dialogue. The gap in knowledge that this study aims to address pertains to the way in which integrating personal development within professional education programmes through facilitating emotional engagement may contribute to more holistic, inclusive practice. The research is an evaluative phenomenological study focusing on the experiences and perception of the educators from their own perspectives. The research evaluates in depth the impact of the 'Lovecircles' programme on five educators from an original group of eleven that completed all elements of a one-year, part-time programme. The research tools are in-depth interviews, reflective diaries of the participants and the researcher, videos, and still photographical observations. The case studies are analysed individually and in comparison to one other. The key research findings indicate that participants overcame emotional barriers during the programme, developed attention to themselves and to others, and developed self-expression of emotions by integrating arts into learning, empowering them on the personal level and professionally as educators. The main factors facilitating the participants' personal and professional development were the programme tutor’s attention to both the personal and professional dimensions, and the use of teaching methods from Expressive Art Therapy such as art, movement, and drama. The educators’ empowerment gave rise to the adoption of a positive teaching approach in their work with children with SEN. The study may serve to inform policy, practice, and research as a robust holistic-humanistic programme. It also contributes to the debate on the place of emotion within professional development programmes and for inclusive and special education. The research has a global relevance through its readily transferable strategies, and so may influence mainstream and special teacher education beyond the Israeli context.
InstitutionAnglia Ruskin University
- Accepted version