“If you don’t have anyone in school that’s like you, regardless, you won’t feel like you belong there”; What it means to belong for secondary-aged pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds, an emancipatory study

Ginn, Iesha (2021) “If you don’t have anyone in school that’s like you, regardless, you won’t feel like you belong there”; What it means to belong for secondary-aged pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds, an emancipatory study. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

Introduction: Belonging as described by Baumeister and Leary (1995) is a fundamental psychological need. When one does not feel they belong, this can be correlated with negative outcomes such as poor mental health, stress, physical illness and suicide (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). In schools, Goodenow and Grady (1995) defined belonging as the extent to which individuals feel accepted, respected and included in school. They also noted that adolescents who experience high sense of belonging also experienced high academic motivation and engagement in learning. This was especially true for Hispanic and African American students (Goodenow and Grady (1995). Aim: This research aims to explore young peoples’ (secondary-aged) experience of belonging in a school setting and the contributions that shape their experience. Method: The researcher used an Emancipatory research paradigm and opportunistic sampling to recruit seven participants who were from an ethnic minority background. Five of these participants were male and two were female. Semi-structured interviews were conducted as well as a questionnaire completed with their primary parent/caregiver. Interviews were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis (RTA). Results Two dimensions of school belonging were found, general and ethnic belonging. The protective factors that contributed to these seem to be connected to how strongly one relates to their ethnic identity. Two other contributions to the experiences of belonging were: being different from the majority and the school ecosystem. This highlighted the external and internal responses to being different from the majority as well as the influences from the school system such their policies and ethnic representation. Conclusion: Feelings of belonging in school are influenced by one’s connection to their ethnic identity and being from an ethnic minority background in a school system that is Eurocentric. Implications of these findings are considered in relation to educational psychology practice and support that schools can provide.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Groups/Institutions/Organisations
Groups & Organisations > Racial/Cultural Groups
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2492

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