04 SES 07 C, Students
Research topic: The voices of students who do not succeed in school are not often heard, especially not the voices of disengaged students. This paper is based on an ongoing PhD-study. The first part consists of life history interviews with ten students in upper secondary school. The ten students told stories about their experiences of their school life, especially during late middle school and upper secondary school. They all shared the experience that after compulsory school they did not get the grades to get into a national program in upper secondary school. To be able to succeed in getting the grades they had to study at the individual program. The students’ experiences of the transition from compulsory school to upper secondary school via the individual program showed that they were disengaged in their education until they started the individual program. The students were bored and they were absent from the lessons. Student engagement addresses low achievement, boredom and alienation and high dropout rates (Finn, 1989; Fredricks, Blumenfeld & Paris, 2004; Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Therefore the main focus in the second part of the study is on student engagement in main-stream seven grade classrooms. The study is a part of a larger project in Sweden (Ifous) dealing with the development of inclusive compulsory schools. Twelve municipalities participate in the project and my study contributes to the large project by collecting and analysing the data from grade seven students in these twelve municipalities. The life history interviews have posed new questions about student engagement and motivation related to inclusion. Therefore the tentative aim is to contribute with knowledge about student disengagement as an expression of exclusion.
Theoretical framework: Transitions from and within school systems can be difficult for students especially for special needs students (Myklebust, 2010). The theoretical framework is learning theories (Illeris, 1999) and engagement and motivation theories (Appleton, Christensen & Furlong, 2008). In seeking to increase engagement in schools and to understand how to deal with low academic achievement and high dropout rate it is pivotal to try to define engagement and find ways to measure it. The instrument used in the second part measure the psychological and the cognitive engagement. Students’ psychological disengagement could be when students experience that teachers do not listen to them, when other students do not care about them or when the family does not support their school work. The cognitive disengaged students do not think that the tests in school are good at measure what they really are able to do, they are not hopeful about their future or they feel that they need extrinsic motivation to learn. The risk that the disengaged student either drop out of school or are marginalized is high
References Appleton, J., Christenson, S and Furlong, M.J. (2008). Student engagement with school: Critical, conceptual and methodological issues of the construct. Psychology in the Schools. 45(5) pp. 369-386. Atkinson, R. (2007). The Life Story Interview as a Bridge in Narrative Inquiry. In D.J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of Narrative Inquiry (pp. 224–245). London: Sage Publications. Fredericks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P.C. and Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59-109. Finn, J. D. (1989). Withdrawing from school. Review of Educational Research, 59, 117-142. Myklebust, J. (2002). Inclusion or exclusion? Transition among special needs students in upper secondary education in Norway. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17(3), 251 – 263. Illeris, K. (1999).Lärande I mötet mellan Piaget, Freud och Marx. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Polkinghorne, D. E. (1995). Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis. In J.A. Hatch & R. Wisniewski (Eds.), Life history and narrative (pp. 5–23). London: Falmer press. Skinner, E. and Belmont, M. J. (1993). Motivation in the classroom:reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 571-581.
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