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“Schools are recognised as places of academic learning but also a context for social and emotional

development” (Morcom, 2105). The schooling environment and overall schooling experience play a
significant role in not only educational attainment, but the social and emotional development of students
also. According to Rigby (2007, cited in Morcom, 2015), “Bullying is a pervasive issue in schools and the
negative repercussions can be enduring into adulthood.” It is necessary for teachers and school boards to
ensure that safe and supportive schooling environments are offered to students in order to prevent this
potential outcome. Research conducted by Morcom (2015), examines the effect of ‘shared affective spaces’
on the social and emotional learning of students as these spaces supported students’ ability to adopt
prosocial behaviour. Findings and recommendations concluded by the research will be implemented into a
lesson plan for the secondary subject of Technology to support prosocial behaviour inside and outside of the

Outline of educational issue

Various factors contribute to the social and emotional development of students; one significant factor within
the schooling environment, is bullying. Proven by Popp, Peguero, Day & Kahle (2014), “bullying victimization
[has] significant impacts on both academic self-efficacy and educational achievement” of students. Morcom
(2015) acknowledges the impact of effective schooling pedagogy on children’s ability to adopt prosocial
behaviours which may potentially impact positively on their social and emotional development as well as
academic achievement, as opposed to the negative impact/s of bullying. This is demonstrated by Bodrova &
Leong (2007 cited in Morcom, 2015) who state that “Early intervention and supporting social and emotional
development assists students to reach their academic potential.” The impacts of peer relationships are
emphasised throughout the article by Morcom (2015) as being crucial in the formulation of values and social
norms for behaviour (Ladd, Kochenderfer, & Coleman, 1996; Lovat, Dally, Clement, & Toomey, 2011; Lovat,
Toomey, Clement, Crotty, & Nielsen, 2009; Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 2006; Wentzel, 2005 cited in
Morcom, 2015). Also explored is the potential for loneliness, low self-esteem and aggressive behaviour to
form as a result of lack of positive peer relationships (Schmidt, Demulder, & Denham, 2002 cited in Morcom,

With schooling environments and peer groups being of significant influence on the social and emotional
development of children, it is necessary that appropriate practices be implemented throughout childhood in
order to assist positive development. Bullying and antisocial behaviours remain prevalent in schools and
must therefore be addressed in the design of teaching pedagogy. The article by Morcom (2015) presents
social and peer networking as an assessment for the forming of prosocial behaviour and acceptance
amongst peers. When asked to form groups for learning activities and provided freedom to choose group
members, students often opt for their circle of peers. Through this, students are restricted from the
development of new friendships and creating emotional bonds with others, assisting their behavioural and
emotional development.

By nature, the secondary learning area of Technology and Applied Studies, often demands group or at least,
partnered work. Group work is often not favoured by students due to the extra responsibility and reliance
on others. For this reason, rather than assisting emotional and behavioural development, group work may
cause the contrary. Where partners or group members are unable to meet deadlines or produce work which
is of decent standards, antisocial behaviours may arise towards problem members, impacting negatively on
their emotional development. Here, teacher involvement may assist in the reduction of such incidence.

Critical Summary

Morcom (2015) uses Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theoretical framework as focus for her research.
“Vygotsky (1978) believed that the purpose of education is to pass on cultural tools such as language to
enable children to think clearly and creatively and develop self-confidence in their abilities to express their
point of view” (Morcom, 2015, p. 78). Morcom took on this view heavily and used it as basis for her choice of
methodology where children were the main providers of data. Vygotsky (1978) also proposes that “any
higher psychological function appears twice, on two planes. Firstly, on the social plane between people
(interpsychological) and secondly, on the individual plane (intrapsychological) when the child internalises
their learning” (Morcom, 2015, p. 78). This proposition became evident as the research progressed and
students began to show progress in both ‘planes’, where peer groups influenced students behaviour and
coming to the realisation that, as Lindsay reported mid-research, “I can behave in the playground and the
class at the same time.”

Goldstein (1999, cited in Morcom, 2015) emphasises the importance of caring relationships between
teachers and students as being a “prerequisite” to working within the ‘zone of proximal development (ZPD)’.
Vygotsky (1978, cited in Morcom, 2015) categorises the ZPD as “the distance between actual developmental
level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined
through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers”. Morcom relies
heavily on this notion throughout her research as participants are constantly led by their teacher/ researcher
and are prompted to complete necessary research activities. Results found through the research
demonstrate the impact of pedagogy and peer relations on the social and emotional development of
students. This acknowledges the positive impact of teacher involvement on the behavioural and social
development of students within the schooling environment, which often extends to outside of school walls.

The research presented in Morcom’s (2015) article adopts a qualitative research approach in an attempt to
effectively gather the feelings and attitudes of the participants. A qualitative approach allows the gathering
of “general verbal and pictoral data to represent the social data” (Gall, Gall & Borg, 2017). Several research
activities were conducted including ‘class agreements’, ‘daily social circle’, ‘weekly classroom meetings and
collaborative problem solving (CPS)’, and ‘social groups’. Each of these activities served the purpose of
addressing bullying behaviours and worked together to create understanding and form prosocial behaviours
amongst peers. The research focused on Lindsay, a 5th grade students who displayed bullying behaviours and
often associated with peers who also displayed such behaviours.

The ‘class agreements’ activity outlined the foundation for classroom values; these included mutual respect,
participation or right to pass, appreciating others/no put downs, and personal best. These “were introduced
to students at the beginning of the year to establish the parameters and values underpinning prosocial
behaviour and how to build positive relationships.” The article recommends that students be introduced to
boundaries or values which discourage antisocial behaviours. The ‘class agreements’ activity acknowledges
this early on in the research and exposes students to these expectations. Other activities completed
throughout the research worked towards helping students realise their abilities and alternative behaviours
when mixing with different peer groups. The ‘social groups’ activity saw children develop emotional and
behavioural change towards schooling in general and towards other peers. Students were required to note
their feelings following each classroom meeting which took place once a week. Following 6-8 week periods,
participants alternated between groups demonstrating the impact of different peer associations on the
social and behavioural development of students. As focus student, Lindsay, drifted from his usual peer
associations as the study progressed, it was noted by the teacher, who is also the researcher, that the
friendship he formed with fellow student, Eilleen, “broke down barriers where students looked beyond
gender to their peers’ personal attributes”. This demonstrates social and behavioural development and the
positive impacts of peer associations on student development. Morcom (2015) stresses the importance of
peer relations on behavioural and social development and demonstrates this through one of Lindsay’s
weekly reflections. During the beginning of the year, Lindsay reported that he was satisfied with school
because his usual peers are in his class. Towards term 2, his satisfaction stemmed from the new friends
which he had made and his realisation that “[he] could behave when [he] wanted to.” “I learnt that I can
behave in the playground and the class as the same time.”

Lesson plan outline

The lesson plan allocated (see appendix 1) through (n.d) presents students with the
opportunity to research sustainable house design and use and then design a 3D model of a house of their
own design. The activity relates to curriculum outcomes:
 Examine and prioritise competing factors including social, ethical and sustainability considerations in the
development of technologies and designed solutions to meet community needs for preferred
futures (ACTDEK029).
 Critique needs or opportunities for designing and investigate, analyse and select from a range of
materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to develop design ideas (ACTDEP035).
(, n.d)

Although the lesson plan provides a “level of teacher scaffolding”, it demonstrates little consideration for the
needs or abilities of students who will undertake the task. Little detail is given in relation to the pedagogy or
approach to be adopted by the teacher leaving opportunity for the classroom teacher to choose his/her own
desired level of scaffolding based on his/her knowledge of the needs and abilities present in the classroom.

While focusing on achieving curriculum outcomes, the activity again, lacks focus on relations, whether
between peers or teacher and student. These certain aspects of pedagogy work towards the social and
emotional development of students, which can potentially reduce incidence of bullying.

Recommendations and activity adaptation

As stated previously, the lesson plan provides little direction in relation to the pedagogy approach to be
taken by the classroom teacher. Morcom (2015, p. 84) concludes that “Understanding different students’
perspectives is integral to a teacher’s role to reduce bullying but can be extended to the teacher scaffolding
students to understand their peers’ perspectives too.” Where behavioural issues are present within a
classroom, the teacher may wish to allocate partners or groups based on the needs and abilities of select
students. Where troublesome students are partnered with appropriate peers, there is the potential to
develop prosocial behaviours due to the emotional connection made. As Bruner (1986, cited in Morcom,
2015, p. 84) states, “Peer groups are fundamental to child development and socialization and it is argued
that teachers have a role to structure the classroom to support prosocial behaviour to facilitate scaffolding
learning”. Where students are allocated appropriate partnerships, a supportive classroom environment is
created where students have the opportunity to grow and develop prosocial behaviours.

Following the activity, the classroom teacher may wish to hold a ‘social circle’-type activity where students
express their feelings about the task and the element of group work with their allocated partners. Such an
activity will help students develop social and emotional skills by listening to and accepting the feelings of
other students and “develop empathy, alongside developing their social knowledge about eachother”
(Morcom, 2015, p.85). The development of prosocial behaviour, as well as emotional connection with peers,
plays a role in the reducing of bullying incidence within schools through peer acceptance and connection.
This can be achieved through increased teacher scaffolding in the classroom and increased control of
classroom activities.


The revision of the lesson plan based on the recommendations of the research by Morcom
(2015) demonstrates the significant impact of critical assessment of educational research on the
reconsideration of pedagogical approach taken towards a task. The assessment of research by Morcom
(2015) has provided insight into appropriate shifts of pedagogical approach which assist with the creation of
classroom environments supportive of social and emotional development of students. Although only two
simple changes have been recommended to a lesson plan in the learning area of Technology and Applied
Studies, educational research provides recommendations which can assist with the adaptation of curriculum,
assessment and pedagogy across all key learning areas. These adaptations are implemented in order to
assist student achievement and attainment and ensure equality in the schooling environment.


Activity Introduction
Quick summary: This lesson is designed to provide
students with the knowledge and skills to enter
the Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition.
Students investigate four of the resources (water,
energy, waste and materials) essential to sustainable
house design and examine how they are currently
used. With their knowledge of these resources they
then re-imagine these resources in new ways. In the
first part of the activity students look at their own
understanding of sustainability and sustainable house
design, and they investigate the four resources in depth. In the second part of the
activity students create a 3D model of a house of the future using natural and synthetic
materials and incorporating their understanding of sustainable house design and

Activity developed in partnership with

This lesson is part of the Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition unit. The
Competition encourages young people (up to 18 years) to make a short film aimed at
giving our community a ‘nudge’ on sustainability: ‘Nudge a neighbour, change a
behaviour’. This year’s competition is focused on the theme “Re-imagining Resources”.
Learning goals:

 Students understand principles of sustainability and sustainable house design.

 Students recognise how we use resources in our houses.
 Students understand that there are more ways to use resources than we currently do.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.
Australian Curriculum content description:
Year 7 & 8 Design and Technologies

 Examine and prioritise competing factors including social, ethical and sustainability
considerations in the development of technologies and designed solutions to meet
community needs for preferred futures (ACTDEK029).
 Critique needs or opportunities for designing and investigate, analyse and select from
a range of materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to develop
design ideas (ACTDEP035).

Topic: Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition, Sustainability.

Time required: 2 x 60 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activity, lead students in discussion.
Resources required: A range of natural and synthetic materials for 3D house construction
(such as wood, wool, plastic, plant matter, metal or foil, cardboard or paper, etc),
butcher’s paper, Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to
access the online worksheet, Definitions of sustainability, Sustainability factsheet –
secondary, Sustainable buildings factsheet.
Digital technology opportunities: Infographic creation e.g. Piktochart (DIY infographic
information), digital sharing capabilities.
Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.
Keywords: Mirvac, resources, water, waste, energy, materials.
References (n.d). Activity: Sustainability Film Competition – Year 9 & 10 – D&T. Retrieved from

Gall, Gall & Borg (2nd ed.). (2015). Applying Educational Research: How to Read, Do and Use Research to
Solve Problems of Practice. Sydney, Australia: Pearson.

Morcom, V. (2015). Scaffolding social and emotional learning within ‘shared affective spaces’ to reduce
bullying: A sociocultural perspective. Learning, Culture And Social Interaction, 6, 77-86.

Popp, A. M., Peguero, A. A., Day, K. R., & Kahle, L. L., M.A. (2014). Gender, bullying victimization, and

education. Violence and Victims, 29(5), 843-856. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-