Belonging to school: the nature and extent of the bond between pupil and school
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AbstractThe school holds particular functions for society; to credential, to contain and to shape the citizens of the future. One much discussed function is the influence of school on the morality and behaviour of young people. This thesis explores the nature of the bond between pupil and school, how it affects behaviour and how it is shaped by the school culture. The focus is derived from an integration of different disciplinary and theoretical paradigm in three previously separate fields; criminology, education and psychotherapy. This thesis is practice-based, using mixed methods research centred on a case-study school and encompasses pupil questionnaires (n=189), pupil interviews (n=5) and extensive ethnographic research. Furthermore, the study is unusual due to the 'insider' status created by my professional role within the school. In this thesis, Hirschi's bond to conformity (1969) is developed to incorporate a pupil's perceptions of the bond. This is defined as a sense of belonging. Findings indicate that a pupil's sense of belonging is significantly linked to pupil behaviour. Furthermore, elemental strands of the sense of belonging signify that the pupil's perception of the school's bond to him, are of key importance. This foregrounds the significance of a school's cultural Character (Berne, 1973) on shaping a pupil's perceptions and sense of belonging. The purpose of this study is to generate useful findings that will support academics, practitioners and policy-makers in attending to a pupil's sense of belonging and a school's culture. The findings that emerge have important implications for professional education and training, and for school development.
CitationSills-Jones, P.C.E. (2011) 'Belonging to school: the nature and extent of the bond between pupil and school'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Professional Doctorate within the Institute of Applied Social Research
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