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OUR SPACE?: OUR SPACE?: USING PHOTO-NARRATIVE TO EXPLORE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES OF THEIR SCHOOLS’ EXTERNAL PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS A RESEARCH.

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Presentation on theme: "OUR SPACE?: OUR SPACE?: USING PHOTO-NARRATIVE TO EXPLORE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES OF THEIR SCHOOLS’ EXTERNAL PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS A RESEARCH."— Presentation transcript:

1 OUR SPACE?: OUR SPACE?: USING PHOTO-NARRATIVE TO EXPLORE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES OF THEIR SCHOOLS’ EXTERNAL PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS A RESEARCH PROJECT (PHD)

2 Inspiration Time warp!

3 Imagined – reality for some

4 Reality for others

5 Inspiration  Curious about litter in schools  Curious about the effect of ‘homelessness’ on students  Curious about the contradiction between the physical environment and modern pedagogy  Developed, through life experience, an intuition that the physical environment was important to identity and wellbeing

6 Purpose  To add to the body of knowledge about the relationship between student engagement and the external physical environments of schools so as to improve student engagement  Student engagement is a widespread and growing problem in schools (Smyth and Fasoli 2007, Smyth et al. 2004, Angus et al. 2009, Slee 1995)  Student engagement is strongly related to achievement and behaviour, particularly amongst certain student populations (Fredericks et al. 2005, Fredericks et al. 2004)

7 Purpose  Student engagement is malleable, and responsive to changes in pedagogy, curriculum and the environment (Fredericks et al. 2005, Finn and Rock 1997, Appleton et al. 2006, Gruenewald 2003a, McGregor 2004b)  Research has established a solid relationship between school connectedness and student engagement (Osterman 2000, Marks 2000, Finn and Voelkl 1993, Goodenow 1993)  The role played by a school’s external physical environment with respect to student connectedness and engagement remains relatively unexplored territory (Comber and Nixon n.d., Gruenewald 2003a)

8 Research questions 1. How does the physical environment influence the way in which middle school students feel about themselves, their school and the value of their education? 2. In what ways do middle school students’ perceptions of their physical environment influence their behaviour at school? 3. In what ways do middle school students negotiate, modify and use the physical environments at school?

9 Theorists and theory  Freire –  schools are dialogic - the way space school spaces are constructed and controlled speaks to students about their position not only in the education system but in wider society; and students speak back via their spaces  relationships between the dominator (staff) and dominated (student) reflect the greater social context  tendency of schools to reproduce themselves – cultural myths of the dominator are positioned as normative

10 Theorists and theory  Bourdieu –  “Self-selecting school” – success is determined by one’s proximity to the dominant discourses  “Cultural arbitrary” - the culture implemented is that of those who have the power to implement it and it most serves the material and symbolic interests of those dominant groups or classes  To prevent themselves from feeling out of place, people who move into a new space fulfil the conditions that the space requires  Foucault -  Power produces knowledge produces power

11 Theorists and theory  Lefebvre –  Spaces are socially constructed  Spaces are trialectic Spaces are perceived (material, physical) Spaces are conceived (abstracted, planned) Spaces are lived (spaces of the imagination that transcend and recode perceived and conceived space)

12 Theorists and theory  Massey -  Places :  have multiple identities, and thus there is no single shared sense of place. This can be a source of richness but also implies contestation.  identities are formed out of the particular set of social relations which interact at a particular location  ‘identities’ of places are constructed through the specificity of their interaction with other places rather than by counterposition to them.  are open and porous networks of social relations  have and have always had unfixed identities, no essential character - the social relations out of which they are constructed are dynamic and changing. The juxtaposition of social relations constantly produces new social effects.

13 Young people and space – theory & research  Childhood and adolescence is socially constructed (Smyth et al. 2004, Cormack 1996b, Lesko 2005, Sibley 1995, Carrington 2006, Zevenbergen 2007)  Constructions of adolescence are overwhelmingly negative (Cormack 1996a, Carrington 2006), which legitimises adult control of adolescent bodies, time and spaces (Grossberg 2001, Thomson 2008, Malone 2008, Saltman 2005, Sternberg 2004, Prosser 2006)  School spaces are perceived but also conceived (Lefebvre 1991)  Students are co-producers of space (Massey 1994)  School spaces are not neutral or empty, but rather act powerfully on students, pedagogy and culture, eg. physical environments prohibit and construct social hierarchies (Gruenwald 2003a, McGregor 2004b)

14 Young people and space – theory & research  Contemporary schools remain highly regulated, hierarchical environments (Smyth et al. 2004, Fisher 2004, Tomazin 2009)  School spaces speak to students about their position not only in the education system but in wider society (Freire 1985, Giroux 1989)  The constriction of school space takes place against a backdrop of diminishing access to public spaces outside school (Abbott-Chapman and Robertson 2009, Williams et al. 2009)  Young people value opportunities for independence and exploring (Abbott-Chapman and Robertson 2009, Kriesberg and Frederick 1999, Chawla 1997)

15 Young people and space – theory & research  Adolescents have developed a range of behaviours and strategies to gain some control over their physical environments at school eg.  Truancy and drop out  Marking out space  Modifying space  Breaking school rules about space (Childress 2004, Blackman 1998, Matthews, Taylor, Percy-Smith and Limb 2000, Valentine 1996, Hemphill 2009, Smyth et al. 2004, Fine 1991, Willis 1981)  Spatial literacy has great potential to empower young people in and connect them to their school spaces ( Comber et al. 2006, Wright 2004)

16 Methodology  “To take the most obvious example, I’m sure a woman’s sense of place in a mining village – the spaces through which she normally moves, the meeting places, the connections outside – are different from a man’s. Their ‘senses of the place’ will be different.” (Massey 1994, p.154)

17 Methodology  Method informed by research goals, theory and particular needs of cohort:  Subjective - student voice  Qualitative  Participatory  Discursive  Inclusive

18 Methods  Two socially disadvantaged schools – why?  Invited 10 purposively selected socio-economically disadvantaged secondary schools  Most disengaged students are socio-economically disadvantaged and somewhat out of step with the ‘cultural arbitrary’ (“working class”) (Fredericks et al. 2004)  Two accepted  Year 9 – why?  in Australia disengagement, feelings of alienation, boredom and unproductive behaviour are at their highest in the early years of secondary school (Chadbourne 2001, Angus et al. 2009)  mitigates against the disruption associated with transition (Jindal- Snape and Foggie 2008)

19 Methods  Phase 1: Gathering contextual data  printed/published information distributed by the participant schools and government bodies socio-economic context zone boundaries maps enrolment numbers school card enrolment cultural composition  Photographs Why?

20 Methods  Phase 2: Photo-narrative – why?  effective method for engaging and empowering the poor and marginalised including young people (Wang et al. 1996; Cook and Hess 2007; Strack et al 2004)  those affected by a particular issue or experience are best positioned to understand it ( Wang et al. 1996)  enables the exploration of multiple realities and the foregrounding of “unimportant details” ( Schratz and Steiner-Loffler 1998, p.533)  inclusive - helps to overcome any language barriers or learning disorders that can facilitate authentic participation (Thomson 2008)

21 Photo-narrative questions  Prompting questions 1. Which spaces do you feel the most comfortable in? 2. Which spaces don’t you feel comfortable in, even though you are allowed to go in them? 3. If the Prime Minister came to your school, where would you take her? 4. Where do the popular students hang out? 5. Where does a student go if they don’t have many friends? 6. If I wanted to find evidence that you exist (when you’re not at school) where in the spaces outside the classroom would I go? 7. Which spaces do you feel are the most controlled by others? 8. In which spaces do you feel you have the most freedom? 9. Are there any spaces where you don’t feel safe? 10. What spaces say the most about who you are? 11. What space in the school would you wave a magic wand over?

22 Methods  Phase 3: Short interview  to confirm photo-sequence  to enable the student to construct a narrative about their external environment at school  approximately 30 minutes long  prompting questions used – specific and general  recorded on video

23 Interview questions  Photo-ellicitation questions  Can you describe what you see in this photo?  Why did you take this photo?  What happens in this space?  Who belongs in this space?  Can anyone come into this space?  How do you feel when you are in this space?  How do you act when you are in this space?

24 Interview questions  General questions  Can you think of five words to describe your school’s physical environment?  What do you like about your school?  What don’t you like about your school?  Where do you go at recess and lunch time generally? Why do you go there?  What can you tell me about the way other students behave in the yard / corridors etc?  What can you tell me about the way other students behave in the classroom?  If you were the principal what would you do to improve the spaces outside the classrooms?  Do you think a school’s physical environment affects how students behave?  Do you think a school’s physical environment says anything about its students?  What do you think people outside of the school think about your school?

25 Data analysis The plan  not a comparative study  all data will be coded  coding will informed by the literature and according to common themes  data will then be used to weave a narrative about the perspectives and experiences of the participants However based on current journey, this plan is likely to change!

26 Challenges / mistakes so far...  Ethics – originally had a observation phase  Sourcing schools  over researched  self-protective  very busy!  Data collection  student interest  consent forms  technology

27 References  Angus, M., McDonald, T., Ormond, C., Rybarcyk, R., Taylor, A. & Winterton, A., 2009, Trajectories of classroom behaviour and academic progress: a study of student engagement with learning. Mt Lawley, WA: Edith Cowan University.  Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., Kim, D. & Reschly, A. L. 2006, 'Measuring cognitive and psychological engagement: Validation of the Student Engagement Instrument', Journal of School Psychology, vol. 44, no. 5, pp  Blackman, S. 1998, 'The School: 'Poxy Cupid!' an ethnographic and feminist account of a resistant female you culture: the New Wave girls', in Skelton, T. & Valentine, G. (eds), Cool place: the geographies of youth cultures, 1 ed, Routledge, Hoboken  Bourdieu, P. 1990, Reproduction in education, society and culture, Sage in association with Theory, Culture & Society, Dept. of Administrative and Social Studies, Teesside Polytechnic, London.  Bourdieu, P. 1999, The weight of the world: social suffering in contemporary society, Polity, Oxford.  Carrington, V. 2006, Rethinking middle years: early adolescents, schooling and digital culture, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W.  Chadbourne, R. 2001, Middle schooling for the middle years: what might the jury be considering?, the Union, Southbank, Vic.  Chawla, L. 1997, 'Growing up in cities: a report on research under way', Environment and Urbanization, vol. 9, no. 2, pp Childress, H. 2004, 'Teenagers, Territory and the Appropriation of Space', Childhood, vol. 11, no. 2, pp  Comber, B. & Nixon, H., n.d., Expanding repertoires of literacy: spacial and critical practices in an elementary school.  Cormack, P. 1996a, 'Construction of the adolescent in newspapers and policy documents : implications for middle schooling', South Australian Educational Leader, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 12.  Cormack, P. (ed) 1996b, From alienation to engagement: opportunities for reform in the middle years of schooling, Australian Curriculum Studies Association, Belconnen, A.C.T.

28 References  Fine, M. 1991, Framing dropouts: notes on the politics of an urban public high school, State University of New York Press, Albany, N.Y.  Finn, J. D. & Rock, D. A. 1997, 'Academic success among students at risk for school failure', Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 82, no. 2, pp  Finn, J. D. & Voelkl, K. E. 1993, 'School Characteristics Related to Student Engagement', The Journal of Negro Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp  Fisher, K. 2004, 'Revoicing classrooms: a spatial manifesto', Forum, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 3.  Fredricks, J., Blumenfeld, P., Friedel, J. & Paris, A. 2005, 'School Engagement', in Moore, K. A. & Lippman, L. H. (eds), What Do Children Need to Flourish?, Springer US, pp  Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C. & Paris, A. H. 2004, 'School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence', Review of Educational Research, vol. 74, no. 1, pp  Freire, P. 1985, The politics of education: culture, power and liberation, Macmillan, London.

29 References  Giroux, H. A. 1989, Schooling for democracy: critical pedagogy in the modern age, Routledge, London.  Goodenow, C. 1993, 'Classroom Belonging among Early Adolescent Students', The Journal of Early Adolescence, vol. 13, no. 1, pp  Grossberg, L. 2001, 'Why Does Neo-Liberalism Hate Kids? The War on Youth and the Culture of Politics', Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, pp  Gruenewald, D. A. 2003a, 'The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place', Educational Researcher, vol. 32, no. 4, pp  Hemphill, S. A., Toumbourou, J. W., Smith, R., Kendall, G. E., Rowland, B., Freiberg, K. & Williams, J. W. 2010, 'Are rates of school suspension higher in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods? An Australian study', Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 21, no. 1, pp  Jindal-Snape, D. & Foggie, J. 2008, 'A holistic approach to primary—secondary transitions', Improving Schools, vol. 11, no. 1, pp  Kriesberg, D. A. & Frederick, D. 1999, Sense of Place : Teaching Children About the Environment With Picture Books, Teacher Ideas Press  Lefebvre, H. 1991, The production of space, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.  Lesko, N. 2005, 'Denaturalizing adolescence: the politics of contemporary representations', in Saltman, K. J. (ed) The critical middle school reader, Routledge, New York, pp

30 References  Malone, K. 2002, 'Street life: youth, culture and competing uses of public space', Environment and Urbanization, vol. 14, no. 2, pp  Marks, H. M. 2000, 'Student Engagement in Instructional Activity: Patterns in the Elementary, Middle, and High School Years', American Educational Research Journal, vol. 37, no. 1, pp  Massey, D. 2004, "Geographies of Responsibility”, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, vol 86, no. 1, pp  Massey, D. B. 1994, Space, place and gender, Polity, Cambridge.  Matthews, H., Taylor, M., Percy-Smith, B. & Limb, M. 2000, 'The Unacceptable Flaneur', Childhood, vol. 7, no. 3, pp  McGregor, J. 2004b, 'Spatiality and the place of the material in schools', Pedagogy, Culture & Society, vol. 12, no. 3, pp  Osterman, K. F. 2000, 'Students' Need for Belonging in the School Community', Review of Educational Research, vol. 70, no. 3, pp  Prosser, B. 2006, 'Beyond deficit views: engaging students with ADHD', paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education, Adelaide, 29 November, 2006.

31 References  Saltman, K. J. 2005, 'The social construction of adolescence', in Saltman, K. J. (ed) The critical middle school reader, Routledge, New York, pp  Sibley, D. 1995, Geographies of exclusion: society and difference in the west, New York, London.  Slee, R. 1995, Changing theories and practices of discipline, Falmer Press, London.  Smyth, J. & Fasoli, L. 2007, 'Climbing over the rocks in the road to student engagement and learning in a challenging high school in Australia', Educational Research, vol. 49, no. 3, pp  Smyth, J., Hattam, R., Cannon, J., Edwards, J., Wilson, N. & Wurst, S. 2004, 'Dropping out,' drifting off, being excluded, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.  Sternberg, J. 2004, 'Young, Dumb and Full of Lies: The News Media's Construction of Youth Culture', Screen Education, vol. no. 37, pp  Thomson, P. 2008, 'Children and young people: voices in visual research', in Thomson, P. (ed) Doing visual research with children and young people  Tomazin, F. 2009, 'Alarm bells over school violence', The Age, vol. 2011, no. 14 June, 2011, viewed.http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/alarm-bells-over-school-violence ezra.html>  Valentine, G 1996, ‘Children should be seen and not heard: the production and transgression of adult’s public space’, Urban Geography, vol 17, no. 3, pp  Williams, P., Pocock, B. & Bridge, K. 2009, 'Kids' lives in adult space and time: How home, community, school and adult work affect opportunity for teenagers in suburban Australia', Health Sociology Review, vol. 18, no. 1, pp  Willis, P. E. 1981, Learning to labor: how working class kids get working class jobs, Columbia University Press, New York.  Wright, S. 2004, 'User Involvement in School Building Design', FORUM: for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education, vol. 46, no. 1, pp  Zevenbergen, R. 2007, 'Millennials come to school', in Zevenbergen, K. (ed) Middle years schooling: reframing adolesence, Pearson/Prentice-Hall, Frenchs Forest, pp


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