At the edge of the school: School affiliation and prevention in a youth perspective

Bidragets oversatte titel: På kanten af skolen: Skoletilknytning og indsatser i et ungdomsperspektiv

    Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


    The rate of pupils dropping out of school and the fact that weak school affiliation correlates with lower job opportunities is of major concern in Europe (Solag, 2002, EACEA, 2012). Participation in education is also considered pivotal to lowering the probability of youth involvement in crime (Moretti, 2005). Yet most studies in this area seem to focus on pupils that have already dropped out of school. There has been less emphasis on how schools and the professionals who work in them deal with pupils with weak school affiliation (Thyssen et. al. 2010, Rumberger 2011) This paper presents the knowledge generated in the research project entitled “At the edge of the school - school affiliation and prevention in a youth perspective”. The project was aimed to generate knowledge about how young adolescents with weak school affiliation and declining school participation perceive school and the special efforts organized to give them support. The study focuses on the following issues: How do pupils in early adolescence perceive the prevention efforts organized in and around their schools, and how are these perceptions produced? Furthermore, we analyze how these perceptions affect pupils’ school strategies, and how schools and professionals can best meet this group of pupils and strengthen their school participation and affiliation. To answer these questions, the study combines three thematic perspectives on pupils’ weak school affiliation and low participation: 1. Narratives: Pupils’ narratives of their experiences with meeting professionals are analyzed. In this way, we examine how the relationship between the youth and the professional helps to position pupils (SOURCE). Our analysis endeavoured to show how the professional relationship with young people impacts their perception of themselves as learners and participants in their own lives. Using this narrative approach, the study encompasses the relational and social processes in which pupils take part at school and in other social contexts. We also discuss new ways in which both professionals and young people can act to support this participation (Ricoeur 1994; Kemp 2005; Holmgren & Nevers 2012; Kofoed & Søndergaard 2013; Gilliam 2008). 2. Youth life: The research also analyzes how these young people understand their own lives and actions within the various social contexts in which they live, and how the interaction between these contexts influences their school participation. The study thus asks how young people's experiences and stories from their lives outside of school affect their perception of and needs at school. In this second theme, we use a sociological approach to identify some characteristics of youth life and the relations and arenas in which it unfolds. (Bauman and May, 2003, Illeris 2009, Bourdieu 1977 Højholdt 2009). 3. Special efforts: From this thematic perspective we analyze how young people perceive the specially organized efforts of which they are part. We analyze how youth distance themselves to a certain extent from these initiatives. In the microsociological approach used for this theme, relations between pupils and professionals in preventive practices are largely influenced by the participants’ impression management. (Goffmann 1974, Jacobsen 2010) Methodology To shed light on these questions, the qualitative study uses empirical data from both pupils and professionals. First, 16 semi-structured interviews were carried out with 16 pupils, grades 8-10, from three different schools in Greater Copenhagen. According to the professionals, all of the pupils were at risk of dropping out of school. The interviews were carried out in accordance with the scientific standards for qualitative semi-structured interviews (Kval, 1997; Brinkman et. al, 2010, Ritchie et. al 2013). In the selection process it became clear that collecting empirical data in this area can be difficult: First, the sampling of interviewees met with obstacles because the professionals were reluctant to identify pupils with declining school attendance. As they justifiably pointed out, the mere act of selecting the pupils we wanted to reach might stigmatize them (Goffman, 1963). This may also have affected the outcome. Second, it became clear during the interviews that the respondents might not be answering the questions honestly, as some of the questions related to topics that might connect them to criminal acts or concern personal dimensions they preferred not to share with the researcher despite a promise of anonymity. The analysis showed that many of the young interviewees did not trust the professionals to maintain confidentiality. They may have seen the researcher as yet another type of professional, thus keeping key information about their lives and actions to themselves. We transcribed the interviews and conducted a thematic analysis, from which we could discern some major themes and a series of sub-themes. The next step in the study was to conduct group interviews with the professionals working at the pupils’ schools. To clarify the interprofessional dimensions of the efforts these professionals undertake with pupils, we ensured that the groups contained a representative sample of the various professions working at schools. These included teachers, guidance counsellors, special educators and other professionals in the Danish school system. The researchers remained quite removed from the discussion, thus allowing the professionals to exchange views and opinions (Second order phenomenological observation) among themselves. However, the researchers introduced some of the themes identified in the pupil interviews, prompting the professionals with pupil statements and inviting them to reflect on the statements. These interviews were also transcribed and thematically analyzed (Ritchie et. al, 2013). In the final stage of the data analysis process, we connected the findings from the pupil and professional rounds of interviews. Summary and results Prevention work to minimize school failure among lower secondary school pupils with weak school affiliation and participation is perceived as a challenge for the school and the professionals working there. The study indicates that professionals wish to develop ways of collaborating interprofessionally that create new perceptions and practice intervention. Through narratives, the study provides insight into the pupils’ views about the challenges in their lives outside school. In general they talk about challenges that render it difficult for them to benefit from school. These difficulties point in the three main thematic directions described in the study: 1) negative relationships between pupil and professional, 2) the pupil’s life outside of school and 3) the particular interventions. The study reveals that the pupils do not always get the support at school that they need to minimize their school failure. The pupil-professional interaction does not always work. This gives rise to frustration, resignation and passivity among both the pupils and the professionals. The professionals feel that professional intervention with lower secondary school pupils at risk comes too late. The study indicates that young people with weak school affiliation are in danger of becoming passive and detached as they encounter increasing academic demands and the far less rounded approach to pupils in lower secondary school. Professionals find that these academic demands serve to complicate individual considerations. Pupils that find it hard to see the point of schoolwork and to engage in school activities do not feel that the school meets them with trust and confidence. This makes preventive intervention problematic. Several of the young people and the professionals indicate that developing and sustaining relationships based on trust and confidentiality are essential to school participation. The study shows that teachers and other professionals in special functions can have a major positive impact in this respect. References Balvig, F. (2011): Lovlydig ungdom. En selvrapporteringsundersøgelse blandt 14-15 unge i Danmark 2010. Tilgået 21. marts 2015 på Bourdieu, P. (1977): Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction. I: J. Karabel & A.H. Halsey (red.). Power and Ideology in Education. New York Oxford University Press. Brinkmann S. & L. Tanggaard (2010): Kvalitative metoder. En grundbog. Hans Reitzels Forlag. EACEA, Euridice (2012) Key data on education in Europe, Brussels, Eurydice Gilliam L. (2008): Bøvl og ballade – når børn obstruerer lærerens projekt. I: J.B. Krejsler & L. Moos (red.). Klasseledelse – magtkampe i praksis, pæ-dagogik og politik. Dafolo. Goffman E. (1959): The presentation of self in everyday life. Doubleday. Goffmann E: (1963) Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity Hansen, J.H. m.fl. (2014): Afdækning af forskning og viden i relation til ressourcepersoner og teamsamarbejde. Tilgået 21. marts 2015 på Holmgren A. & M. Nevers (2012): Narrativ praksis i skolen. Hans Reitzels Forlag. Højholdt, A. (2009): Den tværprofessionelle praktiker. Om udvikling af tværprofessionelt pædagogisk arbejde. Hans Reitzels Forlag. Jacobsen, Michael Hviid (2010): The contemporary Goffman, Routledge Jensen, U.H. & T.P. Jensen (2005): Unge uden uddannelse. Socialforskningsinstituttet. Jørgensen, T.T. m.fl. (2012): Risikofaktorer, effektevalueringer og behandlingsprincipper. En forskningsoversigt. Justitsministeriets Forskningskontor. Knudsen, H. (2008): Har vi en aftale? - (U)mulighedsbetingelser for mødet mellem folkeskole og familie. Ph.d.-afhandling. Danmarks Pædagogiske Uni-versitetsforlag. Kvale, S. (1997): Interview - en introduktion til det kvalitative forskningsin-terview. Hans Reitzels Forlag. Moretti, E. (2005): Does Education Reduce Participation in Criminal Activities? (accessed 11/1 -2016) Ploug, N. (2005): Social arv – sammenfatning. SFI. Ritchie, Jane et. al (2013): Qualitative research practice, Natcen Ricoeur, P. (1994): Oneself as Another. The University of Chicago Press. Rumberger, R. (2011): Dropping Out -Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It, Cambridge, Harvard University Press Schwarz, I. (2014): Hverdagsliv og livsforløb. Tværprofessionelt samarbejde om støtte til børn og unges livsførelse. Klim. Solag, H (2002): Stigmatization by negative selection: Explaining less-educated people’s decreasing employment opportunities, IN. European Sociological review Thyssen G. K. et al (2010): The effectiveness and meaningfulness of policy measures aimed at preventing school dropout. TIER Maastricht Working Paper Series
    Bidragets oversatte titelPå kanten af skolen: Skoletilknytning og indsatser i et ungdomsperspektiv
    Publikationsdato24 aug. 2016
    StatusUdgivet - 24 aug. 2016
    BegivenhedECER 2016: Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers - University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland, Dublin, Irland
    Varighed: 23 aug. 201626 aug. 2016


    KonferenceECER 2016
    LokationUniversity College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland


    • fastholdelse