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See detailTeachers’ images of the ideal student as a marker for school culture and its role in school alienation during the transition from primary to secondary education in Luxembourg
Grecu, Alyssa Laureen UL; Hascher, Tina; Hadjar, Andreas UL

in Studia Paedagogica (2019), 24(2), 85-108

Particularly in highly stratified educational systems, the transition from primary to secondary school involves a substantial alteration of school culture as students leave their familiar environment of ... [more ▼]

Particularly in highly stratified educational systems, the transition from primary to secondary school involves a substantial alteration of school culture as students leave their familiar environment of primary school and encounter a fundamentally different, initially strange school context. The transition to a new secondary school culture is presumably one cause of students’ increasing school alienation as the students face specific expectations from their secondary teachers. The main aim of this paper is to shed light on the association between the change in school culture represented by the teachers’ image of the ideal student and school alienation in the educational context of Luxembourg. The methodolog y follows a qualitative approach: in-depth interviews and group discussions with teachers from primary and secondary schools were analysed applying a qualitative reconstructive approach. The results confirmed the importance of the transition for students’ educational trajectories and indicated its challenges concerning the changes in demands and values students are expected to meet. Various risk and protective factors concerning the development of school alienation over the course of the transition were identified according to the specific demands of a single school’s cultures. [less ▲]

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See detailSchool alienation – Theoretical approaches and educational research
Hascher, Tina; Hadjar, Andreas UL

in Educational Research (2018), 60(2), 171-188

Background: Many primary school students encounter the educational system positively from the outset. However, over the school years, students develop negative attitudes towards school, which peaks during ... [more ▼]

Background: Many primary school students encounter the educational system positively from the outset. However, over the school years, students develop negative attitudes towards school, which peaks during secondary education. According to the literature, we conceptualise this process as school alienation: a decreasing sense of belonging in terms of learning, teachers and classmates at school. Purpose: This article critically examines the research on school alienation, with a focus on primary and secondary education. In this overview, we consider definitions, general conceptual approaches and specific concepts of school alienation, as well as methodological issues, including operationalisations of school alienation. Based on our identification of the strengths and shortcomings of previous theoretical and empirical approaches, we propose a definition and model of school alienation that may guide future research efforts. We argue that future research on school alienation needs to focus on the processes by which school alienation manifests itself; moreover, it must take into account how school alienation can differ with regard to various domains in school (i.e. alienation from learning, from teachers, from classmates). Overall, we argue that instead of an emphasis on general alienation from school, a more specific approach to school alienation is required. Sources of evidence: We used scientific research search engines to identify the body of literature that explicitly studies the phenomenon of school alienation. Firstly, we identified different types of school/student alienation definitions and concepts. Then, we selected papers addressing school alienation as a crucial issue, as well as papers investigating this issue in relation to an outcome, such as violent student behaviour and drop-out, for review. Further, we related our review to comparable concepts, such as disengagement, to show similarities and/or differences. Main argument: The findings of our overview point to a lack of a clear definition of school alienation, a lack of systematic concepts and a diversity of operationalisations based on manifold theoretical approaches. Thus, we propose a contemporary concept of school alienation by bridging different concepts: particularly, the concepts of alienation and disengagement. Our approach specifies core domains to which school alienation is linked: academic learning, teachers and classmates. Furthermore, in regard to each domain, cognitive and affective aspects can be identified, while behavioural aspects are conceptualised as consequences of school alienation. Conclusions: The need for studies aimed at a more profound understanding of the process of school alienation during different stages of educational pathways (such as primary and secondary education) seems to be evident. Panel data are necessary to reconstruct student trajectories in order to take individual changes into account. Different levels of analysis (individual student level/ micro, school or classroom levels/meso, societal level/macro), as well as interaction between these levels, need to be studied. [less ▲]

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See detailSchool Alienation: A Construct Validation Study
Morinaj, Julia; Scharf, Jan UL; Grecu, Alyssa Laureen UL et al

in Frontline Learning Research (2017), 5(2), 36-59

Early identification of school alienation is of great importance for students’ educational outcomes and successful participation in society. This study examined the psychometric characteristics of a newly ... [more ▼]

Early identification of school alienation is of great importance for students’ educational outcomes and successful participation in society. This study examined the psychometric characteristics of a newly developed assessment instrument, the School Alienation Scale (SALS), to measure school alienation among primary and secondary school students. The SALS consists of three school-related domains, namely, classmates, teachers, and learning. Based on the responses of Swiss (1) and Luxembourgish (2) students from two schoolspecific cohorts — primary (grade 4; n1=486, n2=503) and secondary schools (grade 7; n1=550, n2=534), we assessed instrument reliability, validity, and cross-cultural equivalence. The scale showed evidence of reliability and internal validity across two samples, confirming that the hypothesized first-order three-factor model fits the data better than several alternative models. The results of measurement invariance tests revealed that the measurement model operated equally well for primary and secondary school students in both countries. The construct validity of the SALS was additionally supported by demonstrated criterion-related validity. Specifically, school alienation domains were negatively associated with positive attitudes to and enjoyment in school; social problems in school were positively related to alienation from classmates and teachers. Our key contributions to the measurement of school alienation are the disclosure of the core domains of school alienation, development of a reliable and valid instrument, and justification for its use. Therefore, the results of this study have important implications for further theoretical work in alienation research and contribute to comparative research by examining the construct of school alienation in different educational settings. [less ▲]

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