To what extent do intervention music classes impact on seven and eight year old children presenting with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties? A study of student learning in a deprived school setting.

  • Jill Thomas

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This qualitative case study, set within the sociocultural field of education, examined how intervention music lessons over the duration of one school year may have shaped the development of two seven and eight year old children presenting with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.The students in the context of this research were selected from mainstream classes due to the emotional and behavioural difficulties they had exhibited. Through analysis of field notes, student iPad diaries and formal and informal interviews, an exploration into the impact of active and collaborative music learning and teaching on the social, emotional and behavioural learning of these students took place. The music learning and teaching was based around Eun’s (2010, p.405) socioculturally informed instructional model, which offers eight interrelated principles for instruction, namely that they should be: mediated; discursive; collaborative; responsive; contextualized; activity-orientated; developmental; and integrated.In examining the social and emotional development of these children during the music lessons, the emergent findings suggested that the intervention classes positively benefitted the children’s development in three main thematic areas, namely in personal competence, task competence and social competence. Although both children responded to the intervention music lessons in strikingly different ways, key findings highlighted substantial increases for both children in their self-esteem, possibly due to their success and achievements in music. The second pertinent finding was that the duration of the intervention programme itself was an important factor, with substantial increases being made in their affective development by the late research phase.Overall, this study highlighted the prominence of achievement in student’s affective development and I suggest that utilizing music as a vehicle for accomplishment for children presenting with SEBD, is a potentially powerful and influential resource.
Date of Award1 May 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorElisabeth Barratt Hacking (Supervisor) & Trevor Grimshaw (Supervisor)


  • Social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, music, music education, sociocultural educational principles

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