A phenomenological study of teachers experiences of working with Selective Mutism
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: Children with selective mutism (SM) are said to present teachers with a unique challenge and the presence of a child with SM in class is said to have considerable and powerful affects on teachers. The current research sought to explore the lived experiences of teachers working with SM in order to capture the much needed educators voice in relation to this specific client group. Method: Data were obtained from three semi structured interviews with teachers who had previously taught a child with SM. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted, in order to gain insight into the lived experiences of the teachers. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed closely. A narrative account of the teachers experiences’ of working with children with SM was written up with verbatim extracts from each interview included. Findings: Emergent themes from the data were: (1) Teachers perception of the cause; (2) Characteristics of the SM; (3) The level of support received by each teacher; (4) Strategies used; and (5) Teachers emotional reactions. The uniqueness of each child with SM was made clear in the findings, alongside the individuality of each teachers experience as a result of this. The teaching experience was influenced by a number of different variables, some of which interacted with one another. Conclusion: The findings suggested further research exploring the relationship between the perceived cause of SM and its influence on the emotions experienced by teachers and strategies employed within class. This would permit a deeper understanding of the way in which the perceived cause influences the teachers’ experience.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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