'Different horses for different courses': a study into the benefits horse management as a form of vocational education has on underachieving, excluded and disengaged children between the age range 14-19
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There has been little literature based on the underachieving 14-19 year old and the impact of studying animal husbandry, or in this case, hotse management. This study attempts to try to bridge the gap by exploring both lecturers and students perceptions of the way the course is run, the positive aspects the course offers, and the differences the course offers compared to school experiences' Using qualitative methods to assess disengaged, excluded and underachieving children in an Agricultural College in South East Wales, the researcher has shown that the students who took part in the study preferred learning from undertaking practical activities. They benefited from the equal split between learning about the care of horses in the classroom and putting into practice what they had leamed in a practical environment on the yard with the horses. The research was carried out with a small number of disengaged 16-19 year old students and their lecturers on the GNVQ horse care course. Although the researcher is particularly interested in the 14-19 age range, it is unethical to undertake research with young persons under the age of 16, therefore the study was amended. The study found that the horse management course engaged students who had been previously disengaged in the school setting prior to attending the college. The observations were made in the classroom as well as outside on the yard and also during riding sessions. From the observations made by the researcher, there was a significant difference in the way the students behaved in the classroom compared to when engaged in the practical activities. There was a marked difference observed when their concentration lapsed, for example there was a higher level of disruption in the classroom as opposed to when they were outside. The findings of the study suggest that more government funding needs to be available to enhance the learning of the vocational student in the classroom. Although the course has been noted as a success by the students and lecturers involved in the study, classroom activities and facilities are lacking in comparison to more practical aspects of the course.
B.A. (Hons) Educational studies and humanities
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