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Sofia's Project Studies Behaviour

Sofia with some of the research from her EPQ project

A personal interest in Psychology has inspired Sofia, a Sixth Form student at St Paul’s Catholic School to explore the theme of ‘Explaining and resolving adolescent misbehaviour’ for her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Sofia said: “I wanted to look at how adolescents behave in school, why they behave in certain ways and to find out whether it is possible for that behaviour to change.”

As part of her research she talked to the school’s pastoral team including the Deputy Headteacher with responsibility for pastoral and safeguarding matters and to the Senior Chaplaincy and Pastoral Assistant who leads a team helping to ensure that pupils feel cared for, supported and safe. Sofia also spoke to teachers to get their perspective on behaviour.

She also conducted a survey with over 50 students from Years 7 to 10 completing a questionnaire and then held face to face interviews with some of the students to get their personal views for case studies.

Sofia’s key findings about reforming misbehaviour included:

  • Schools should offer less restrictive physical activities at break time and lunch time so that students have more positive outlets for entertainment and their energy.
  • Schools need to help a student with a turbulent family as best they can through interventions; possibly activities to promote good self-esteem and positive social interactions, as well as offering counselling and diligently noticing who needs help.
  • Good student/teacher relationships are needed so that students don’t antagonise teachers and vice versa.
  • Misbehaviour needs early intervention; preferably needs parental involvement in intervention and their acceptance of the problem.

Sofia explained:  “My research indicated that a school can only do so much to try to consistently improve badly-behaved students, as the students need to personally want to change in order to accept help and improve their behaviour, and some family situations are just very difficult.”

She is currently studying for A-levels in Psychology, History and English and hopes to go on to do History and Archaeology at Exeter or Edinburgh University.  Sofia said: “It has been great to do my EPQ alongside my A-levels as it gave me an opportunity to delve into a subject I’m really interested in.”

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