Schooling and the construction of allegiance.

Year: 2001

Author: Gill, Judith, Howard, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The idea of 'belonging' in terms of being connected to a particular group and/or larger community such as state and nation remains largely unexplored in studies of Australian youth. Despite the considerable claims in school promotions and the popular press about the importance of school spirit, the strength of the Old Scholar networks, the participation in school reunions, there has not to date been a careful study on the ways in which Australian schooling processes develop in students a sense of affiliation, caring and connectedness. This paper reports on one study, which investigated ways in which young people are involved in a sense of connectedness to school. Using a memory work approach the analysis is based on the recollections of schooling of a group of currently enrolled tertiary students. The study revealed a surprising degree of similarity in the recollections of feeling that one 'belonged' across a range of school locations in terms of
a. the likely age of the strongest feelings of connection
b. the question of gender and connectedness
c. the importance of peers and the extra-curriculum; and
d. the place of the teacher in generating this sense of belonging.