Students’ experiences of social integration in schoolwide activities—an investigation in the Finnish context

Pia-Maria Niemi

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The question of how students’ sense of membership and connectedness to their school can be supported through school practices concerns educational contexts internationally. According to the Programme of International Student Achievement test, students’ experiences of school belonging have decreased and polarized in many of the participating countries since the 2003 test. This study provides new knowledge about the topic by investigating students’ experiences of schoolwide activities from the perspective of social integration. The study approaches social integration from the conceptual pre-understanding presented in Jürgen Habermas’ (1984; 1987) theory of communicative action about the creation of solidarity among groups. The study is based on interview data with Finnish lower secondary students (14–16 years old). The findings show that schoolwide events can be valuable for creating social integration, but the negative aspects of school community may also culminate during these occurrences. This study provides new knowledge about how social integration is constructed in schoolwide events through cultural-level values and commitments, school community-level practices, and personal-level interactions among students. This study has practical importance for developing school practices internationally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation Inquiry
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)68-87
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

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