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“All the Small Things”: Research Exploring the Positive Experiences of Teachers Working with Pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

27 November 2019

Author: Clare Jones - Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy), Cardiff University, 2019


Pupils labelled with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) have the most complex needs in our education system and may be the most excluded population. Research into the experience of working with these pupils is scarce.

Using a positive psychology framework can help us to understand the positives of working with pupils experiencing PMLD, as well as to elicit information about teachers’ strengths and resources. It can help educational psychologists to work more effectively with pupils, families, and teachers.

A semi-structured interview using a positive psychology framework was undertaken with seven teachers of pupils with PMLD to explore these areas. A thematic analysis of the data reported the teachers’ expression of many positives arising from the unique characteristics of their pupils.

The personal character strengths that teachers identified in themselves were related to their need to explore different ways of working with their pupils, and for working effectively as a team.

Despite the teachers’ limited experience of working with educational psychologists they were able to provide suggestions for their desired future practice with EPs.

The positive psychology framework enabled a rich variety of positives to be explored in relation to pupils labelled with PMLD.

The characteristics that may be viewed as deficits in traditional models of disability were viewed as opportunities for positive experiences for the teachers.

The implications of the research for EP practice and the impact of the implementation of a positive psychology framework are discussed.

Link to full article coming soon.


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