ABS112 - A social network analysis of school advice-seeking patterns to support vulnerable learners: A critical methodological account
11:20 AM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Convention Center - 2103
Supporting the learning and wellbeing of vulnerable students is a complex part of school educators’ work. Although research has suggested that collaboration among colleagues can help them meet the needs of at-risk students, there is less research on the institutional cultures of collaboration. In this study, we explored the social networks of advice among school staff on supporting the learning and wellbeing of vulnerable students. The project examined the different patterns of collaboration to support vulnerable learners between teachers in six English secondary schools. A mixed methods approach was used that combined findings from Social Network Analysis (SNA) with in-depth interviews. It was found that patterns of collaboration among staff varied substantively among the schools and that they were coherent with formal organisational structures. We are concerned with the ways in which the practices of a school community are structured by their institutional context and argue that social structures impact on the interactions between the participants and the skills, knowledge and understanding that reside in those institutions. We provide a constructive critique of SNA from the perspective of activity theory and argue that the fluidity of social relations within activity systems calls for a multi-layered approach to data collection.