05 SES 12, School Alienation: Causes and Consequences
Education is a central source of societal welfare and individual development, and schooling serves as an important fundament for lifelong learning. Thus, alienation from school is a severe problem for education and societies. School alienation comes along with a low attachment to school, a low identification with learning and an emotional detachment from academic goals and values (Arachambault et al., 2009). More precisely, alienated students leave school with multiple negative experiences including a failed attachment to school as an institution of learning and education. School alienation is a multi-component concept with negative emotions and cognitions as very early stage indicators and behavioral aspects like truancy, absenteeism, school violence as expressions of manifested severe alienation. Furthermore, school alienation goes along with a lack of participation in learning activities and a lack of conformity to school rules on the active behavioral level (Murdock, 1999). Research shows that the commitment and bonding to school is fragmented during school years and that even children who like to go to school may develop a negative orientation towards learning in school. On the one hand, school alienation is a subject of socialization (parents, peers) – being transmitted from generation to generation in specific risk groups (working class, male gender), on the other hand, school alienation is also a reaction to situational factors (failures at school, teaching style). Hence, school alienation is a severe problem for learners, teachers and schools (Brown, Higgins & Paulsen, 2003). A key explanation for differences in school alienation is the existence of gaps between expectancies, competencies and conditions of school students´ learning environment as represented by the scholastic setting.
Our symposium is interdisciplinary and multi-method in nature as it combines perspectives of sociology, psychology and educational science. To gain a deeper insight into the phenomenon of school alienation, we try to integrate students´ perspectives more systematically into research by thoroughly investigating processes of the development of school alienation. Compiling findings from Austrian, Swiss, German and American empirical studies, national and international characteristics of educational systems will be taken into account: At the very beginning, specific risk and protective predictors of school-alienation for Austrian adolescents in two different parallel school tracks are analyzed (Katstaller & Hascher). The second contribution deals with the role of school alienation for educational inequalities by gender, social origin and migration background in the Swiss educational system (Hadjar & Backes). A third paper will focus on a theoretically-driven prevention concept in order to decrease educational inequalities in Germany (Schulze & Ricking). Finally, the school-alienated experiences of five male non-completers as well as the need for increased school counseling support in American schools are considered (Schulz).
Archambault, I., Janosz, M., Fallu, J.-S. & Pagani, L. S. (2009). Student engagement and its relationship with early high school dropout. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 651-670.
Brown, M. R., Higgins, K. & Paulsen, K. (2003). Adolescent Alienation. Intervention in School and Clinic, 39, 3-9.
Murdock, T. B. (1999). Status and motivational predictors of alienation in middle school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 62-75.
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