14 SES 02 B, Partnership-building among Schools and Communities
Researchers who focus on educational inequalities increasingly give attention to the transitions in the education system. In Austria, Germany and some cantons of Switzerland, the transition between primary and secondary education is of particular importance in the analysis of the emergence and consolidation of educational inequality, since this selection process takes place at a very early age compared to other countries (see Koch, 2008, Helsper & Hummrich, 2005). The different types of schools (secondary and secondary modern school) within the secondary education lead to different degrees, which open up very diverse career opportunities. Thus, the choice of the school form after the primary level becomes an important status preliminary decision (see Koch, 2008, p.577). Important factors for the choice are teachers' recommendations and parental decision-making processes. Research shows that both are influenced by the social background of the child. Children from lower social classes as well as children with migration background are far more likely to become an advice for the lower school (secondary grammer school), than children from higher social classes without migration background (see Lehmann & Peek, 1997, p.89, or Ditton, 2004, p.270). Internationally comparative studies show, that selection mechanisms due to social background take place in all transitions in the education system or between the education system and the job market. But the very early first transition in the education system of the German-speaking countries has a particularly selective effect (see Maaz, Hausen, McElvany & Baumert, 2006 or Bos, Lanckes, Prenzel, Schwippert, Walther & Valtin, 2003)
From a pupil's perspective this first transition is often experienced as a critical life event that is associated with anxiety and changes in different dimensions such as expectations or relationships (see Hacker, 1988). Pupils respond to the transition regardless of their level of achievement with school disaffection. Qualitative educational research, which has dealt since the 1980s with the question, how a school visit affects the identity development of pupils (see Wellendorf, 1979, Hurrelmann & Wolf, 1986; 1992), demonstrates that pupils, entering a new school, undergo an adaptation process that can lead to different types of career (see Cicourel & Kitsuse, 1975 or Bietau, Breyvoel & Helsper, 1981). Common to these studies is the thesis that successful and unsuccessful or deviant school and post-school careers arise as a result of a fit between the student's "equipment" and the explicit and implicit school requirements and perceptions. More recently, a prominent group around Werner Helsper has introduced a more comprehensive construct into the discussion in applying Bourdieu's concept of habitus. They distinguish between the primary habitus produced in preschool time, which describes the internalized perception, thinking and action patterns of a person and a secondary student habitus, which is formed in dealing with the school environment. Problems of fit arise in this perspective if the primary habitus cannot be reconciled with the school culture of the respective school (see Helsper, Kramer & Thiersch, 2014). Research on school culture shows, that there are different perspectives on the different types of schools, with elementary schools being more oriented towards children's interests and problems, while secondary schools tend to focus on standards of performance (see Mitzlaff / Wiederhold 1989)
Starting Point for this contribution is a study, in which we evaluated the teaching concepts of two elementary schools, which follow an innovative approach. The schools wanted to explore, if these concepts, with particular focus on the success of the transition of the pupils to secondary schools, are effective.
In the evaluation study (now called Pre-Study), fourth-grade pupils as well as former pupils and their parents were interviewed with a questionnaire. In addition, group discussions were conducted with teachers from the customer schools and analyzed by means of content analyses (see Kuckartz, 2012). The results are explained in the section below. Based on the results of the previous research and our own Pre-study, we assume that the risk of an unsuccessful transition is especially high, when the school culture of the secondary school is very different from the school culture of the elementary school. In our preliminary study it became clear that such a difference can appear at different levels: Differences in the concept of achievement, in the image of a pupil (eg what distinguishes a good pupil, which competencies are important?) as well as in the teaching settings used in the classroom are important for the experience the pupils make. Additionally to this study, we conducted a second study in which the identity development of the pupils when switching between different school cultures is examined by means of a complex mixed-methods design. For this purpose, we survey school cultures (with special attention to dimensions that influence the experience of the students) at four elementary schools and at four customer schools (two secondary schools and two secondary modern schools). We conduct interviews with the headmasters and undertake group discussions with the teachers. In order to understand which discourses of the teachers are included in the shared orientations of the pupils, we also do group discussions with pupils at all schools. In a second step, we want to grasp the connection between the transition from one school culture to another and the development of the identity of the pupils. For this purpose, we carry out a mixed-methods longitudinal survey, in which the children are interviewed at two points in elementary school and as well as after the transition to lower secondary school. Besides the qualitative interviews we also record the school self-concept as well as indicators on health and well-being by means of quantitative surveys. Before and after the change, we additionally interview the parents.
The content analysis of the data undertaken in the Pre-study showed that the perspectives of the customer schools are very diverse. For example, there are schools that take a similar perspective like the elementary schools in their image of the pupils and their demands on the pupils, while others have a blatantly different image of a pupil. Also, the teaching settings in some schools are similar to those of the elementary schools, while other secondary schools are different. The feedback from students and their parents suggests that students who change schools in a way that is akin to elementary school easily solve the transition, while those who transgress into a different school culture face initial difficulties. In our contribution at the conference we want to discuss these results of the Pre-Study as well as the first findings of the ongoing study. We are now in the phase of pretesting our instruments and will start the first group-discussions and the first wave of interviews in March.
Bos, W., Lankes, E.-M., Prenzel, M., Schwippert, K., Walther, G. & Valtin, R. (Hrsg.) (2003). Erste Ergebnisse aus IGLU. Schülerleistungen am Ende der vierten Jahrgangsstufe im internationalen Vergleich. Münster/New York/München/Berlin: Waxman. Buff, A. (1991). Persönlichkeitsentwicklung im Umfeld des Übertritts in die Sekundarstufe I unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Selbstkonzepts. Zürich: ADAG Administration- und Druck AG. Cicourel, A. & Kitsuse, J. (1975). Die soziale Organisation der Schule und abweichende jugendliche Karrieren. In F. Stallberg (Hrsg.). Abweichung und Kriminalität (S. 194-207). Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe. Ditton, H. (2004). Der Beitrag von Schule und Lehrern zur Reproduktion von Bildungsungleichheit. In R. Becker & W. Lauterbach (Hrsg.), Bildung als Privileg? (S. 251–279). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag Hacker, H. (1998). Übergänge fordern uns heraus. Die Grundschule 20 (10), S. 8-10. Helsper, W. (2008). Schulkulturen: die Schule als symbolische Sinnordnung. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 54 (1), 63-80. Helsper, W.& Hummrich, M. (2005). Erfolg und Scheitern in der Schulkarriere: Ausmaß, Erklärungen, biographische Auswirkungen und Reformvorschläge. In Sachverständigenkommission. Zwölfter Kinder- und Jugendbericht (Hrsg.), Band 3: Kompetenzerwerb von Kindern und Jugendlichen im Schulalter (S. 95-175). München: Verlag Deutsches Jugendinstitut. Koch, K. (2008). Von der Grundschule zur Sekundarstufe. In W. Helsper & J. Böhme (Hrsg.), Handbuch der Schulforschung (S. 577–593). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. Kramer, R.-T. (2014). Identität als Passungsverhältnis von Schüler-Selbst und Schulkultur - "neue" biographieanalytische und rekonstruktive Perspektiven auf ein "altes" Problem. In J Hagedorn (Hrsg.): Jugend, Schule, Identität - Selbstwerdung und Identitätskonstruktion im KOntext Schule S. 423-438. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. Maaz, K., Hausen, C., McElvany, N. & Baumert, J. (2006). Stichwort: Übergänge im Bildungssystem. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 9 (3), 299-327.
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