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Academic help seeking in French lower secondary school students with an autism spectrum disorder


Scaffolding can be considered as an interactive process where the scaffolded student plays a crucial role (Rogoff, 1995). It has been studied since the scaffolding metaphor of Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976), and it still arouses a lot of interest (van de Pol, Volman, & Beishuizen, 2010). As far as the inclusive education context is concerned, this research topic has begun to be developed, but mostly from the scaffolding teachers’ and teaching assistants’ perspective (Radford, Bosanquet, Webster, & Blatchford, 2015). In other words, there exist only few studies considering scaffolding interactions in inclusive settings from the scaffolded students’ perspective. Our objective was to fill this gap, by analyzing academic help seeking in adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The participants were 11 French 12 to 16-year-old lower secondary students with an ASD, attending scientific courses both in a regular classroom and a resource classroom for students with cognitive disabilities. Each student was filmed six times, i.e. during 3 lessons in each classroom context, and the students and the teachers were interviewed. The results concerning the interviews (Zorn & Puustinen, 2017) revealed, contrary to our hypothesis, that both the students and their teachers reported students with an ASD seeking help in the classroom. Within this context, our aim was to verify whether the video recorded data, revealing the actual in-classroom behaviour of these students, confirm the results from the interviews. Moreover, if students with an ASD seek help in the classroom, what type of help do they seek? The video and audio recorded data were transcribed verbatim, with a description of the context. A coding scheme was adapted from existing help-seeking categories such as instrumental and executive help seeking (Nelson-Le Gall, 1981) and confirmatory help seeking (Puustinen, 1998), for example. Preliminary results show, in accordance with the interviews (Zorn & Puustinen, 2017), that students with an ASD sought help in the classroom and adapted their help-seeking behavior depending on the learning context (regular vs. resource class). Some of their requests reflected a self-regulated learning attitude (e.g., asking for a task-related hints) while others didn’t (e.g., asking for ready-made answers; Nelson-Le Gall, 1981). Moreover, some requests reflected the students’ emotional concerns (e.g., need for reassurance; Puustinen, 1998). Our results provide an opportunity to discuss the unexpected social and metacognitive skills of these students, as well as their special educational needs during their learning.
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hal-02494450 , version 1 (28-02-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02494450 , version 1


Sabine Zorn, Minna Puustinen. Academic help seeking in French lower secondary school students with an autism spectrum disorder. European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Sep 2018, Bolzano, Italy. ⟨hal-02494450⟩
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