Singapore Elementary School Psychology Case Study

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Background
This case study revolves around John. He is a capable 11 year old pupil who is an above average ability boy. However, he almost did not make it into the standard stream in his school. His results were badly affected due to his frequent inattention in class as well as his incomplete homework. He is enrolled in an elite primary school that has the GEP program. Based on the class grades, he is the weakest pupil in the last standard class. John is greatly unmotivated and shows no interest in his lessons or any class activities. His classmates and even other better achieving schoolmates look down on him due to his poor grades. They exclude him from their activities and frequently ridicule him due to his behaviour and differences. John, who is maturing faster than his peers, is already in the early stages of puberty. As he did not pay attention to his lesson, he is unaware that they changes taking place is his body is natural and he is thus confused by what is happening. The biological changes in his body has caused him to become more aggressive towards his classmates. It has also caused him to grow more hair on his legs and arm. His peers have noticed this and have begun to humiliate him more. In retaliation to protect himself, he reacts unnecessarily by either finding trouble with his classmates and even banging the tables and shoving the chairs. He comes from an increasingly more common mixed race Indian-Chinese family. He is mostly cared for by his domestic helper, as his parents, who are of the middle income financial background, tends to work long hours. John does not get to see his parents much, but when they are at home, he ends up hearing them argue and fight instead. This has impacted him negatively which resulted in his poor academic performance. His extended family did not approve of his parents’ marriage and thus has disowned them, making him feel even more out-casted. Context of Development

Problems & Theories
John’s issues can be addressed using Bronfenbrenner’s (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) ecological theory which is made up of five environmental systems. Three of the systems, particularly the microsystem, mesosystem and exosystem will be broached in response to John’s situation.

Parents play a very crucial role with regards to their children’s performance in school (Epstein, 2007a, b; Schader, 2008). Within John’s microsystem, it is quite clear that things are not going well for him at home. This is due to the absence of the presence of his parents in his life. The care given by the domestic helper is more a transient one, thus she would not be able to replace the role of his parents. Even within the school context, things are rather bad as he does not have any friends due to his violent behaviour and his disregard of his studies. The lack of intervention from his teachers is also not helping. John’s mesosystem shows a lack of connection between the school and his family as his parents do not monitor his work as they are too busy with their own work. Their only involvement with his school matters is when they are forced to come to school once a year to collect his report book. This also explains the lack of awareness on the teachers’ part with regards to John’s situation. His peers are also unaware as none of them are his friends, as thus there has been no social interaction and communication between them that would have led to sharing of necessary information. Within John’s exosystem, his development has been greatly negatively impacted by the arguments and fights of his parents that he witnessed as he is affected both physically and mentally. He would avoid his parent by staying by himself in room and even skipping his meals. At his age, constant intake of proper food is important for his physical and mental growth. It is mentioned in Cox (2008) that problems in marriages may have negative impact on children. This could have thus contributed to John’s poor academic performance....
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