05 SES 14, Effects of Schools, Teachers and Teacher Collaboration on At-risk Groups
This project studies how women who have perpetrated violence in adolescence now view their experiences with friendship and especially their school history. The study presents the women’s perspectives and their understanding of their own practice of violence in adolescence and their gang membership. Previous research Tindicates that girls who engage in violence in adulthood have a greater chance of developing depression than boys. Girls with violence and aggression problems have an increased risk of later experiencing internalised difficulties, suicide and substance abuse, and they stay in violent relationships, drop out of school, become pregnant early in life and are frequent users of public support services (Chamberlain & Moore, 2002; Bengtson et al., 2003). Furthermore, Chamberlain and Moore (2002) indicate that physically aggressive girls are more often disliked by peers than physically aggressive boys, and although we see examples of girls committing violence against boys, girls mainly fight with other girls (Faldet, 2013; Bjørgo & Haaland, 2001; Natland, 2006).
This project addresses the following issues:
- How do women who engaged in violence in adolescence, experience school, and how did these experiences affect their learning and identity?
- What relationships did women who engaged in violence in adolescence have with their teachers and fellow students, and how did this impact their experience of school?
The study’s theoretical foundation is based on the concept of a social life, an initiative that underlines learning and cognitive processes in an individual’s adaptation to and interaction with the social environment. Central to this is Banduras concept of self-efficacy, which is a person's belief in his/her own coping ability (Bandura, 1997).
The study is also based on an understanding of the girls as actors in their own lives. They are not oppressed by contextual conditions or individual attributes; they create their own reality/perception. Such an understanding of the girls implies that their actions are intentional (Nygård, 2007). That is, when the girls show both inappropriate and appropriate behaviour, they do it because they more or less consciously want to do it.
Another approach is derived from the theory of resistance. In some students, problem behaviours reflect their resistance to a school they do not feel they ‘belong to’ or that they believe does not value them. They show resistance because they do not feel acknowledged, and their situation, experiences and interests are not considered.
The study is a longitudinal study of 13 girls (now women) who engaged in violence in adolescence. Ten years ago, when the girls ranged in age between 13 and 18, in-depth interviews were conducted (Faldet, 2013). Today, these girls are young adults and so the study seeks to conduct new interviews with the same informants. It is crucial to obtain the women’s perspectives and their descriptions of how they now, retrospectively, understand their earlier experiences and their history of violence. The informants’ experience of school and class situations in which the violence occurred will be described, and with that, the study will look at the women’s current understanding of their practice of violence in adolescence and their gang membership. In this phenomenological study, the data will be analysed using a hermeneutic interpretation process, and from a phenomenological point of view, the research process is determined by the desire to understand the perceptions of the subjects being investigated (within the perspective/inside perspective) (Tangen, 1998). By using interviews, I aim to access the informants’ experiences. To achieve this, intersubjectivity, in the form of the relationship established between the researcher and each individual informant, is important. Schibbye (2002) describes intersubjectivity as a process in which the parties in a relationship mutually create each other’s prerequisites. This means that it is not possible to understand one party in the relationship independently of the other party; therefore, it is crucial to establish a relationship based on acknowledging the interpersonal connection. The study also uses an inductive and grounded theory-inspired approach.
Women who engaged in violence in adolescence were exposed to several risk factors during their childhood and adolescence. They felt unsuccessful in arenas where most girls succeed, such as family, school and friendship relationships, arenas that are crucial to a person’s quality of life and enable one to deal with life’s challenges (Faldet, 2013). Their experiences and lack of self-efficacy have made their life difficult as an adult. The study expected that the women were embarrassed to be identified as a ‘girl who has exercised violence’. And as one of the study participants noted, the women were embarrassed to be identified as a ‘girl who has committed violence’. This made it challenging for the informants to tell their personal history to someone. It may seem that the girls felt a kind of shame—for the pain they had inflicted on others, but also shame for themselves. The shame has made it difficult to act constructively in such as some situations, and, in some cases, it has led to aggression against oneself or others. It was expected that these women would describe their school experience as having been difficult. They were not acknowledged, and did not receive the help and follow-up they needed from teachers and other staff at school. It is believed that the respondents used different strategies for self-efficacy, furthermore, even if they think that using violence was not good, doing so provided them with a way to handle challenging situations and a difficult period of their life. This means that the violence was rarely unmotivated; for the girls, it was a rational and appropriately response to a specific situation.
Bandura, A. (1997): Self-efficacy. The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. Bengtsson, M., Steinsvåg, R. 0. & Terland, H. (2004): Ungdom bak volden: Forståelse og behandling av ungdom med volds- og aggresjonsproblem. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Bjørgo, T. & Haaland, T. (2001): Vold, konflikt og gjenger. NIBR-notat 2001:131. Chamberlain, P. & Moore, K.J. (2002): Chaos and Trauma in the Lives of Adolescent Females with Antisocal Behavior and Delinquency. I: Greenwald, R. (red.), Trauma and Juvile Delinquency: Theory, Research and Interventions. New York: The Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press. Faldet, A-C (2013): Jenter som utøver vold. En empirisk studie av jenters erfaring med gjengaktivitet, familie og skolegang. Avhandling for graden ph.d., Det utdanningsvitenskapelige fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo. Natland, S. (2006): Volden, horen og vennskapet. En kulturanalytisk studie av unge jenter som utøvere av vold. Avhandling seksjon for kulturvitenskap Institutt for kulturstudier og kunsthistorie, Universitetet i Bergen. Nygård, R. (2007): Aktør eller brikke? Søkelys på menneskets selvforståelse. Oslo: Cappelens Forlag AS. Schibbye, A-L. L. (2002): En dialektisk relasjonsforståelse i psykoterapi med individ, par og familie. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Tangen, R. (1998): Skolelivskvalitet på særvilkår. Elever og foreldre i møte med videregående skole. Avhandling for graden dr. philos, Det utdanningsvitenskapelige fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo.
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