THE CULTURE OF ALCOHOL IN RELATION TO SECONDARY AGED PUPILS: a feasibility study
Report submitted to funders in 1989, John Schostak, Richard Davies
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AN OVERVIEW OF THE REPORT
The final report of the feasibility study "The Culture of Alcohol in Relation to Secondary Aged Pupils" is organised in 5 principle sections. These can be crudely categorised as 1] History and Alcohol Education, A Review 2] Data 3] Data Analysis 4] Theory and 5] a Conclusion.
There is an appendix attached to the end of the report which presents an analysis of the nature of encounter in relation to alcohol. The purpose of this is to illustrate in more detail the complexity of decision making.
Section 1 (History) consists of a description of the origins, location, personnel, aims, methodology and curricular context of the project. It also provides an account of the school and off site special unit in which the study took place, the numbers and ages of the pupils interviewed and the material circumstances of those interviews. The constraints and caveats pertaining to such interviews are discussed at length. These have a bearing upon the relationship of adult to child or young person in the school context with particular respect to Personal and Social Education. An account is also provided of interviews with teachers and some of the special constraints that now prevail in obtaining teacher time for research projects unless there is a prior and shared commitment to the aims of the project. The changing national profile of Personal and Social Development and its individual features within a particular school is described. A distinction is made between PSE (Personal and Social Education) and PSD (Personal and Social Development), a distinction which serves to structure the basic educational strategies proposed in this report. There is also a brief portrait of some aspects of the school's catchment area. Finally there is a short history and review of recent alcohol education in which we sketch the movement from substance specific programme based forms of health education to more open-ended, 'holistic', pupil centred and discussion based forms of education in which the emphasis is not upon the transmission of messages but the development of the individual
Section 2 (the data) consists of the Developmental Profiles. These are the stories derived from the taped interviews with pupils at both the school and the special unit. These are the PSD base, the materials of the experiences and points of view of the young people themselves. They are constructed as narratives and not presented as analyses.
Section 3 (the Data Analysis) consists of the Analytic Profiles. These are illustrations of the way by which educational strategies that relate to the lives of individuals, can be indicated by reflection on the materials of experience. They are discussions about and with the accounts individuals give of themselves and their circumstances. They are the beginnings of a PSE response of the educationalist to the PSD of the individual.
Section 4 (the Theory) presents a process of analysing the complexity and diversity of young peoples' experiences. The strength of the method lies in the fact that it is grounded not in idealised theoretical conceptions of people's behaviour but in the close study of young peoples' experience itself. The educational implications are discussed and the rationale for an Action Research based process both as educational and research strategy is argued.
Section 5 (the Conclusion) reviews the original objectives of the one year pilot study in relation to the findings of general feasibility. Guidelines are presented for a research and development phase following the pilot study. There is a summary of the findings concerning developmental profiles.