The integration of students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders into northern schools : an ill-structured problem
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the work of three administrators and their staffs as they attempted to solve the ill-structured problem of integrating students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) into their schools. A further purpose of the study was to investigate the role played by schools in influencing community responses that would enhance the post-school lives of students with FASD.The study was conducted throughout one academic year and involved three schools in northern Canada. The use of Problem Based Methodology (PBM) permitted research to be conducted within the schools to generate solutions to the problem. By working with their staff, administrators were afforded opportunities to examine their theories in action and engage in double-loop learning as they searched for new theories of action and alternate constraint constructs.The data for the study were derived from interviews with participating practitioners, parents, health professionals, and District Educational Authority (DEA) members. This permitted the gathering of spontaneous comments and general opinions to be turned into systemic records and detailed statements. The use of PBM determined that data selection involved a search for behaviours in classes of interest. Potential classes of interest were identified prior to the beginning of the study. By the use of a constraint structure, parameters were established for acceptable solutions that generated a theory of action for the ill-structured problem. The four criteria of explanatory accuracy, effectiveness, coherence and improvability were used in theory adjudication (Robinson 1993). Critical dialogue was used between the researcher and participants to collectively make decisions and solve problems through the exchange of the best possible information.The study suggested implications for organizational theory that could better enable administrators and staff to address this ill-structured problem. The isolation and lack of resources oblige staff to create conditions conducive to inquiry and learning (Schon 1983). In the case of initial solutions the theories in action were similar, suggesting that assumptions surrounding the role of contextual factors caused by the heterogeneous nature of the schools are misleading. Prior to the study by Godel et al. (2000) lack of diagnosis diffused the urgency of the problem. Following the publication of the data from that study the lack of screening and diagnosis was a major challenge to stakeholders. Generation of data on the children with FASD in northern communities is essential to generate an organizational and professional focus.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorMiller, Dianne M.
CommitteeRenihan, Patrick; Noonan, Warren; Kelly, Ivan W.; Goddard, Tim; Carr-Stewart, Sheila; Scharf, Murray P.
Problem Based Methodology
students with FASD
culture based education