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An analysis of the Storyline method in primary school; its theoretical underpinnings and its impact on pupils’ intrinsic motivation.

MITCHELL-BARRETT, RHONDA (2010) An analysis of the Storyline method in primary school; its theoretical underpinnings and its impact on pupils’ intrinsic motivation. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This study explores the relationship between the Scottish Storyline teaching method and pupils’ levels of motivation when engaged in a Storyline topic. It also examines the theoretical underpinnings for Storyline drawn from constructivism, progressive education, drama methodology and intrinsic motivation.

Storyline as a pedagogy emerged in Scotland during the late 1960s, as a means to support primary school teachers in teaching a topic based curriculum. Storyline as a teaching methodology has been widely adopted across Europe and America and in these countries, the method continues to grow in popularity. In order to meet the demands of the Scottish ‘Curriculum for Excellence’, there was recently a Storyline revival in Scotland. Yet in England, Storyline remains little known or virtually unheard of. However, with changing curriculum demands, teachers are searching for a pedagogy to teach topic based, cross curricular learning themes and as this paper will demonstrate, the Storyline method presents one such approach.

For the purposes of this study, pupils’ levels of intrinsic motivation were attained using an intrinsic motivation itemised questionnaire and the views and opinions of a sample group of pupils were gained through semi-structured interviews. This blend of data provides an insight into the scoring of pupils’ motivational levels and also their thoughts and experiences of the Storyline method. This research was then viewed within the wider context of the primary school curriculum, making links to recent developments in education policy making, and considering Storyline as a methodology to meet the needs of an unknown future curriculum.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:Storyline, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, constructivism, progressive education, drama methodology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Dec 2010 15:17

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