05 SES 17, Location, Alienation and Migration
Younger children often show a strong attachment to school, a high curiosity to learn new things and a sense of belonging to the school, their classmates and teachers. However, at the beginning of their educational trajectories, they become increasingly distant to school, particularly during secondary schooling. This increasing lack of students’ school bonding and lack of interest in school during adolescence can be conceptualised as alienation from school, i.e. a set of negative attitudes (cognitive and affective estrangement) towards three school-related domains, namely classmates, teachers and learning (Hascher & Hadjar, 2018; Morinaj et al., 2017). In regard to causes of school alienation, the misfit between the adolescents’ needs and their school environments (Eccles & Midgley, 1989) as well as group-specific socialisation processes (Hascher & Hagenauer 2010; Hadjar et al., 2015) are important drivers behind the development of school alienation. Recent studies on (dis-)engagement, as a concept being related to the concept of school alienation, exhibit an increasing conceptual and empirical interest in classroom-level characteristics and how they impact individual students by stressing the importance of class room composition (Demanet et al., 2016; Demanet & Van Houtte, 2014). Furthermore, research indicates differences in school alienation among well-studied axes of inequalities such as social origin, gender and immigrant background. In some studies, school alienation appears to be class-specific, with working-class students being more alienated from school (Hendrix et al., 1990; Hadjar et al., 2010, 2015). While a higher school alienation level among male students is well-documented (e.g., Hascher & Hagenauer, 2010; Hadjar et al. 2015), in regard to immigrant background evidence is scarce. Given the higher educational aspirations of immigrants (van de Werfhorst & van Tubergen, 2007; Hadjar & Scharf, 2018), they should be less alienated from school than non-immigrants. Recent empirical studies (e.g., Hadjar et al., 2010) provide some support for this proposition. However, differential results may occur if classroom composition and domain-specific alienation is considered.
Focusing on the intersection between immigrant background and social origin, the main objective of our presentation is to gain an insight into the – presumably differential – development of school alienation across the three domains (classmates, teachers, learning) from grades 7 to 9 in secondary schooling. Considering causes of school alienation, the classroom composition regarding social origin and immigrant background will be examined.
Analyses are based on the bi-national mixed-method project School Alienation in Switzerland and Luxembourg (SASAL). Data was acquired in 2016, 2017 and 2018 in primary and secondary schools in the Swiss canton of Bern and three regions of Luxembourg. In our presentation, we present results of the quantitative longitudinal study. The panel dataset used for the analyses includes a clustered sample (cluster: classrooms) of secondary school students. We followed them over three years during lower secondary education (grade 7 to grade 9). After reconstructing the development of domain-specific school alienation in four different sub-groups (immigrants of low social origin, immigrants of high social origin, non-immigrants of low social origin, non-immigrants of high social origin) descriptively, longitudinal multilevel models will be employed to control for individual predictors and context factors (classroom composition).
Preliminary findings indicate that alienation from learning shows the strongest increase over the period between grade 7 and grade 9. In regard to alienation from teachers, the increase was less pronounced, while alienation from classmates showed the lowest increase. Considering the inequality axes of immigrant background and social origin, results indicate a lower alienation from classmates and learning among vulnerable immigrant groups (of low social origin) and a higher alienation from classmates among non-immigrant low social origin students. From longitudinal perspective, immigrants of low social origin appeared to show the lowest alienation increase in regard to learning, classmates and teachers. Significant classroom composition effects – although only a low percentage of variation in the three alienation domains of school alienation was explained at the classroom level – occur in regard to alienation from learning with a higher increase of alienation from learning in classrooms with a lower proportion of immigrants and a higher proportion of students of low social origin. Significant cross-level interaction effects indicate that non-immigrants of low social origin profit from a higher proportion of immigrants in their classroom, as this seems to contribute to a decrease in alienation from learning.
Demanet, J. & van Houtte, M. (2014). Social–ethnic school composition and disengagement. The Social Science Journal, 51(4): 659-675. Demanet, J., van Praag, L., and van Houtte, M. (2016). About ethnicity, fitting in, and acting out. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 15(2), 293-319. Eccles, J. & Midgley, C. (1989). Stage-environment fit. In C. Ames & R. Ames (Eds.), Research on motivation in education (pp. 139-186). San Diego: Academic Press. Hadjar, A., Scharf, J. ( 2018). The value of education among immigrants and non-immigrants and how this translates into educational aspirations: a comparison of four European countries. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (early online, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1433025). Hadjar, A., Lupatsch, J. & Grünewald-Huber, E. (2010). Bildungsverlierer/-innen, Schulentfremdung und Schulerfolg. In G. Quenzel & K. Hurrelmann (Eds.), Bildungsverlierer (pp. 223-244). Hadjar, A., Backes, S. & Gysin, S. (2015). School Alienation, Patriarchal Gender-Role Orientations and the Lower Educational Success of Boys. A Mixed-method Study. Masculinities and Social Change, 4(1), 85-116. Hascher, T., & Hagenauer, G. (2010). Alienation from school. International Journal of Educational Research, 49, 220–232. Hascher, T., & Hadjar, A. (2018). School Alienation: Theoretical approaches and educational research. Educational Research (early online, DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2018.1443021). Hendrix, V. L., Sederberg, C. H., & Miller, V. (1990). Correlates of commitment/alienation among high school seniors. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 23(1), 129-135. Morinaj, J., Scharf, J., Grecu, A., Hadjar, A., Hascher, T., & Marcin, K. (2017). School Alienation: A Construct Validation Study. Frontline Learning Research, 5(2), 36-59. Van de Werfhorst, H. G., & Van Tubergen, F. 2007. Ethnicity, Schooling, and Merit in the Netherlands. Ethnicities, 7(3), 4164-4144.
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