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The Impact Of Perceptions Of Belonging On Primary-Aged Children’s Approaches To Learning And Academic Achievement: Does This Impact Have A Lasting Effect?

02 December 2019

Author: Rebecca Neudegg

This thesis explores the relationship between belonging and academic outcomes for primary-aged children.

A systematic literature review revealed a consistent, positive relationship between these variables and found that interventions that aim to promote belonging increase academic achievement (e.g. Grade Point Average) and positive approaches to learning (e.g. persistence).

The review also highlighted areas that require further understanding, such as the level of manipulation needed to have a positive impact and the longevity of this impact.

The empirical study aimed to explore the impact of “minimal group” belonging on persistence, enjoyment and performance for 5 and 6-year-olds. This study used group comparisons whereby 54 children were assigned to either a minimal group (“puzzle group” with reminder or “puzzle group” without reminder) or an individual “puzzle job” identity (control group).

Children completed items of the Children's Analogical Thinking Modifiability test to measure performance and persistence, as well as enjoyment and belonging ratings, at three time-points.

The findings show that minimal groups may improve persistence and this effect might last if children are reminded of their group belonging.

This study also found that children in minimal groups showed improved persistence after the intervention, despite enjoying the task less.

Educational psychologists could work with educators to promote belonging through school ethos, classroom instructional practices and environmental cues. Further implications are discussed


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