• Nicla Kathrine Kirkegaard Nielsen
  • Hannah Jedig Steenberg
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this master thesis is to explore how narrative theory and methods is being integrated and utilised in a Danish family school. This research i carried out by an empirical qualitative case study, which aims to explore how the social and pedagogical practice unfolds in a Danish family school inspired by the Marlborough model (Hjordt & Wilson, 2010). The empirical data is collected through one day of observations and audio recordings at the school. The observations focus was centered around two specific families and followed these both during structured gatherings with all the 4 present families and at unstructured individual family work time. The thesis is concerned with how theory and methods especially inspired by Michael White is being integrated (2006a, 2006b, 2007). To gratify this curiosity, 9 episodes have been selected, transcribed, analysed, and then categorised into 3 themes. The themes are home-school cooperation, linguistic response and involvement and balancing of stories. The analysis of the 9 episodes focuses specifically on how narratives are being constructed and negotiated in the social interaction as part of the individuals’ identity work (Bamberg, 2006, 2011, 2012a, 2012b). The thesis also focuses on how narratives position the individual in different subject positions and how these either restrict or create new options for the individual (Davies & Harré, 2014; Harré, 2012). As a result of the analysis, it reveals how the employees adapt and incorporate a sense of awareness of narrative thinking and how some of the practices at the family school can be interpreted as related to specific narrative methods and theories. Through the analysis of the 9 episodes it appears that the employees do work accordingly to the narrative theory as demonstrated by their attention on the construction of positive narratives about the family members. However, the analysis reveals that the practice seems to primarily focus on the parents’ construction of narratives and that the kids’ involvement in storytelling and setting of goals for them self is limited. This is just one of the apparent shortcomings in several tension fields in the pedagogical work. The analysis also shows dilemmas related to the difference between the therapeutic context and the pedagogical context, and a more general dilemma related to eclectic practice in the family school. We also discuss the theoretical potentials and pitfalls in integrating the narrative theory and methods in the current schooling system. This also revealed a tension field related to on the one side the school’s aim to educate and mould children according to general normative discourses and on the other side, the aim of the narrative perspectives to be neutral and follow the individuals wish for development. Nonetheless, we see a great potential in working towards further integration of narrative pedagogic both in the family school and in the schooling system. However, the dilemmas we have come across put a certain amount of responsibility on the employees’ ability to identify, reflect and act on these accordingly to the theory. For instance, it is pivotal for the employees to be aware of the power of their position and use this to guide the individuals to be aware of the general normative discourses and their impact on the individual’s life and narratives. Also, it demands of employees to focus their attention not on normative beliefs about what a child should become, but instead on the child's stories and act on the intentions, values and wishes for personal growth expressed in these stories.
Publication date29 May 2020
Number of pages108
ID: 333156758