Coping in an open-plan high school : a comparative study

by Pat Hewat

Institution: University of Canberra
Year: 1980
Keywords: open-plan high school; coping; non-coping; teaching environment
Record ID: 1488977
Full text PDF: http://erl.canberra.edu.au./public/adt-AUC20060721.143133


In this study an attempt was made to consider the behaviour of students in a new open-plan High School as a specific example of an interaction between man and his environment. In the first two chapters a brief review was made of research and theories that were thought to be relevant to this. In the last part of the study a research project which involved a comparison of 'coping' and 'non-coping' students was described. The teaching environment in the chosen High School during the first term of 1976 appeared to be a 'Progressive - Open type' of teaching environment. After the first tern it changed and became increasingly more traditional. Significant differences in scholastic behaviour between the two groups of students at the end of the first term indicated that:- 1. The coping group tended to have a more internal locus of control than the non-coping group. 2. The students of the coping group tended to plan for professional careers whereas those of the non-coping group tended to plan for non-professional careers. 3. On the whole the coping group tended to have realistic career aims in terms of their general ability. (ii) If. The students of the coping group tended to have higher I.Q. scores than those of the non-coping group. There were no significant differences between the coping and non-coping groups in terms of their attitudes towards the High School nor in terms of the attitudes of their parents. Both groups of students tended to state that 'doing well at school' was important to them and to record positive or neutral attitudes towards the High School for both themselves and their parents. Significant differences in behaviour were found between 'internal' and 'external' students that support Rotter's theory regarding goal values. Internal students who planned for professional careers tended to be in the coping group whereas internal students who planned for non-professional careers tended to be in the non-coping group. In the case of the 'external' students no significant differences were found between the type of career aims and coning. The change to a more traditional type of teaching environment appeared to benefit the 'external' students. At the end of the third terra there was a significant increase in the numbers of 'external' students classified as coping, but in the case of the 'internal' students no significant increase was found.