Critiquing the school community: a qualitative study of children’s conceptualizations of their school
Schools are traditionally seen as responsible for the educational outcomes of our children. However, schools also play an important role in the development of aspects such as self-efficacy, participation, competence and self-determination. As schools are often run as societies rather than communities, they offer little opportunity for these attributes (self-efficacy, participation, competence and self-determination) to develop. Forty-six children aged from nine to 12 years were interviewed to ascertain their conceptualizations of the school community. The children define their school in terms of people, places for activities and interaction, a place for safety, cooperation, influence and functionality. The responses closely align to the adult conceptualizations of sense of community as purported by McMillan and Chavis (1986). Implications of this research suggest that children can and should have an integral role in designing a curriculum and systems relevant to the school context if we are at all concerned with their psychological wellness.
Pooley, J. A., Breen, L., Pike, L. T., Cohen, L., & Drew, N. M. (2008). Critiquing the school community: A qualitative study of children's conceptualizations of their school. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 21(2), 87-98. doi: 10.1080/09518390701207517