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Understanding nurturing practices: a comparison of the use of strategies likely to enhance self-esteem in nurture groups and normal classrooms

Colwell, John and O'Connor, Tina (2003) Understanding nurturing practices: a comparison of the use of strategies likely to enhance self-esteem in nurture groups and normal classrooms. British Journal of Special Education, 30 (3). pp. 119-124. ISSN 0952-3383

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8527.00296


Nurture groups are now being established in many parts of the UK, as research evidence continues to confirm both their effectiveness and cost-efficiency in helping children with emotional and behavioural difficulties to remain within mainstream schools. Their conceptual framework is based on Bowlby's attachment theory, in which impaired early care is seen to have led to low self-esteem, mistrust of others and behaviour that impedes success in school. The nurture group provides the opportunity to re-experience early nurturing in a warm and accepting environment, which fosters positive self-regard and the development of secure relationships with the nurture group staff. The study reported in this article sought to determine a reason for the effectiveness of this early intervention by focusing on the enhancement of self-esteem. John Colwell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at De Montfort University, and Tina O'Connor, a teacher at Oakthorpe Primary School in the London Borough of Enfield, conducted an observational study of nurture groups and normal classrooms in order to compare climates in terms of self-esteem enhancement strategies. Results confirmed that teachers' verbal and non-verbal communications in the nurture group were much more positive and more likely to enhance the self-esteem of pupils. In contrast, the communications of normal classroom teachers were found to be less likely to create an environment conducive to fostering positive self-esteem. The authors conclude that their evidence supports conceptual explanations of the effectiveness of nurture groups and propose that mainstream schools could become more inclusive if whole-school nurturing approaches were adopted.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Online ISSN 1467-8578
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:156
Deposited On:25 Nov 2005
Last Modified:04 Nov 2009 16:25

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