*I think education is bulls**t*: Understanding the

Report
‘I think education is bulls**t’: Understanding the
pathway to disaffection in school-excluded young
people.
Fidelma Hanrahan and Robin Banerjee
University of Sussex
Background
 What does school disaffection look like?
 Disruptive behaviour, emotional difficulties, and academic
failure (DETR, 1999; Skinner, Kindermann, & Furrer, 2008).
 Behavioural/emotional profile associated with disadvantaged
backgrounds (Daniels et al., 2003; Jimerson, Egeland, Sroufe, & Carlson, 2000;
Steer, 2000) as well as non-optimal future trajectories (Coles et al.,
2002; DFE, 2012; Henry, Knight, & Thornberry, 2012; SEU, 1999).
Theoretical frameworks
 Recent theoretical work
 Attempt to understand and explain link between environmental
experiences and school engagement or disengagement.
 Some plausible models such as the self-system model of
motivational development (SSMMD; Connell & Wellborn,
2009; Skinner and colleagues, 2008; 2009).
Theoretical model of the development
of disaffection
Selfdiscrepancy
theory
Possible
selves
(Markus & Nurius,
1986)
Selfdetermination
theory (SDT)
(Higgins, 1987)
Self
(Ryan & Deci, 2000)
Behaviour
and
emotion
Social
Environments
Achievement goal
theory
(Dweck & Leggett, 1988)
Motivation
and
cognitions
Attribution
theory
(Weiner, 1985)
Social
Environments
Support for an integrated model
of school disaffection
 Association between parental support of basic psychological
needs and optimal outcomes
 dropping out of school associated with perceptions of teachers
and parents as less autonomy-supportive and perception of self
as less autonomous and competent (Hardre & Reeve, 2003;
Vallerand, Fortier, & Guay, 1997).
Motivation
and
cognitions
 Link between achievement goals and attributions, and
behavioural outcomes
 ‘performance goal orientations’ – failure results in threat to
self-esteem leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and
shame, leading to self-handicapping and disruptive behaviour
(Ames, 1992; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Thompson, 2004).
Self
 Link between multiple self-construals and disaffection
 school-excluded pupils generate more impossible future selves
and have more negative perceptions of their futures compared
to non school-excluded pupils (Mainwaring & Hallam, 2010).
Study I: Aim and research question
• Aim:
• Address the lack of qualitative research, underpinned by
psychological frameworks, which examines the lived
experiences of school excluded pupils.
• Evaluate, and further develop, a model of disaffection
• Do the experiences of school-excluded pupils fit with an
understanding of the psychological processes of selfdiscrepancies and achievement goals as mediating the
link between troubled social backgrounds and a
problematic behavioural/ emotional profile?
Method
 Participants
 ten PRU and ex-PRU pupils (6 female, 4 male; aged 14-20 years;
mixed ethnicity: 4 mixed race, 4 black, 1 white, 1 South-Asian)
 six staff (2 female,4 male; 5 white, 1 black)
 Semi-structured interviews
 Questions
 experiences at school and PRU
 the experience of being excluded
 relationships with teachers, peers and others
 attitude to education
 aspirations
 self-concepts
 Analysis
 Transcripts analysed using theory driven thematic analysis
Key findings – Model of school disaffection
Selfconstruals
Social
Environments
Orientation
to school
Aspirations
Behavioural
disengagement
from school
Disinterest
Anti-social behaviour
Resistance to
authority
Absence
Orientation
to school
YP-1: […] I went to college to do ALevels; I think I lasted about two weeks.
[…] I was just like, aw this is just like
school, why bother, so I didn’t bother
with it (Female, 20).
Distraction
Helpless behaviours
Negative
emotions
Anger
Sadness
Hopelessness
Frustration
Anxiety
Embarrassment
YP-6:When it’s really hard I
don’t understand it and I
get frustrated (Male, 16).
Aspirations
Intelligence
as ‘fixed’
Extrinsic
motivation
Money as
motivator
Lack of intrinsic
motivation and
task enjoyment
‘Fixed’
mindset
Performance
goals
Focused on
outcomes of
learning i.e.
qualification for
job
YP-6: I think [education] is bulls**t. [...]
Int: And what keeps you doing it then?
YP-6: The money really, till you get a job
(Male,16).
YP-1: I’m not as smart as you think, [...]
there’s a certain limit there… that’s as
smart as I can get (Female, 20).
YP-1: I’ve tried to go to college, [...] I
don’t think it would’ve ever worked
out… because there’s nothing that I’d
say I’m so interested in that I’d go and
study for years and stick to it […] it’d
just piss me off, I wouldn’t be able to do
that… if I’m going to do something
now I’d want to know, well that’s going
to get me a job right at the end of it
(Female, 20).
YP-6: I see myself in the future as,
like, not getting a job and stuff.
Something really bad (Male, 16).
Possible selves
YP-4: I thought [getting sent to the
PRU] meant that I didn’t… I
wasn’t going to get nothing, go
nowhere in life[...] I wasn’t going
to be able to achieve anything [...]
that’s what I thought anyway
(Female, 17).
Lack of ideal self
Unrealistic ideal
self or ideal self
and no realistic
strategies
Feared self as
expected self
Inauthentic/’False’
self
Self as Failure
Lack of believed
in ‘hoped-for’
self
YP-3: I’ve always got a brick wall
around me. [...] you’ll never see
me … you’ll never see the true –
who I really am, who I always want
to be but don’t feel that I’m able to
(Female, 16).
Selfconstruals
Detached self-reliant
self
Conflict between
wanting to be
perceived as ‘nice’ and
wishing to be feared
YP-4: [The school staff] didn’t care. [...]
They knew that the school was bad; they
knew that the people there was bad, so they
just didn’t really care [...] (Female, 14).
YP-3: [Pupils who have been
excluded] probably don’t even
care that they’ve been kicked out
of school. They’re more worried
about what’s going on at home
(Female, 16).
School Environments
Failure to understand
circumstances and
experiences of young
people
Controlling responses
Chronic instability at
home and
community
disadvantage
Lack of positive
parenting
Social
Environments
No positive, realistic role
models
Norm of disadvantage
and anti-social
behaviour in community
Parental expectations
lacking or unachievable
Peer Pressure
To be perceived as
‘bad’
Pursue needs through
anti-social behaviour
and relationships with
deviant peers
School Environments
Failure to understand
circumstances and
experiences of young
people
Controlling responses
YP-3: I mean I was involved with
a gang when I was like 13 [...] I
was just running around with
like people, just doing bad things
but… y’know, you don’t have to
be in a gang to, beat someone up
or, y’know, rob someone. […]
Had problems at home [...] it’s a
way of dealing with things really,
a coping mechanism (Female,
16).
Chronic instability at
home and
community
disadvantage
Lack of positive
parenting
Social
Environments
No positive, realistic role
models
Norm of disadvantage
and anti-social
behaviour in community
Parental expectations
lacking or unachievable
Peer Pressure
To be perceived as
‘bad’
Pursue needs through
anti-social behaviour
and relationships with
deviant peers
Positive responses to the
PRU environment
Supportive school environment
Focus on building relationships
between staff and pupils
Teachers’ understanding of pupils’
experiences outside of school
environment
Realistic goals set
Positive choices
Room for
hope
Realistic positive
hoped-for self
Sense of autonomy in
making positive choices
Recognition of achievements
Staff belief in pupils’ competence
and positive futures
YP-4: I felt people [in the PRU] listened to you
more [...] obviously they’re more understanding
because they know people that’s coming there is
got… problems, or troubles [...] so… if
something was wrong they’ll try and find out or
they’ll tell you to calm down or they’ll make you
go and speak to someone and… stuff like that.
So it was really really good (Female, 17).
Conclusion and questions for future
research
• Initial attempt looking at possible mediators of the link
between social background and behavioural and
emotional outcomes supports an integrated model of
disaffection.
• Future research
• Systematically investigate the links between these different
psychological processes
• How do they interact? Are links reciprocal?
Study II: Aim and research question
 Survey study aim:
 Quantitative investigation of links between psychological
processes in model
 Address the lack of research into engagement/disengagement
with school-excluded pupils.
 Research question
• What does the pathway between the psychological processes
implicated in the development of disaffection look like?
• How do the these processes interact? Are links reciprocal?
Method
 Participants
 102 PRU pupils (62 male, 33 female, 7 unknown), years 7 – 11
 Age range 11 – 17 years (M = 14.97, SD = 1.37)
 Ethnicity: 74% White, 10% Black, 5% mixed, 11%
other/unknown
• Scales
Global self worth scale
The Perception
of False Self Scale
Harter (1988)
(Weir & Jose, 2010)
Learning Climate
Questionnaire (LCQ)
Self
(Williams & Deci, 1996)
Social vignettes
Life event scale
Ystgaard (1997);
Swearingen and Cohen
(1985); Attar, Guerra,
& Tolan, (1994)
Perception of
Parents Scale
(POPS) (Grolnick,
Behaviour
and
emotion
Social
Environments
Motivation
and
cognitions
Ryan, & Deci, 1991)
Aspiration Index (AI)
(Grouzet, Kasser, et al., 2005);
Patterns of Adaptive
Learning Scale (PALS)
Sydney Attribution Scale (SAS)
(Midgely et al., 2000)
(Marsh, 1984)
Preliminary findings
Global self
worth scale
.52***
-.35**
The Perception
of False Self
Scale
POPS
* = p < .05; ** = p < .01; *** = p < .001
Preliminary findings
POPS
.30**
-.28*
.26*
-.27*
AI intrinsic
AI extrinsic
PALS (Mastery)
* = p < .05; ** = p < .01; *** = p < .001
Preliminary findings
Angry
-.30**
POPS
-.32**
Neg better
Social
vignettes
-.23*
Neg liked
-.24*
Neg
respect
-.31**
Neg solve
prob
* = p < .05; ** = p < .01; *** = p < .001
Tentative conclusions and unanswered
questions
 Some early support for the qualitative study and theoretical
model of school disaffection more generally
 Pathway analysis
 How do they interact? Are links reciprocal?
With thanks to:
Robin Banerjee

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