The Role of Sense of Community and Sense of Belonging as

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Healthy communities: What
   have we learned from
    talking to children?.
    Lisbeth T. Pike, Lynne Cohen,
         Julie Ann Pooley, &
           Mandie Shean

Resilience or Vulnerability?
Salutogenic or pathogenic?
Resilience and Prevention.
        Definitions of Resilience
is an ability to recover from or adjust easily
 to misfortune or change.
Resilience is characterized as the ability to
 draw on personal or social resources, the
 ability to detect contingencies and
 predictability in complex situations, and
 the ability to react flexibly.
Likened to thriving, invulnerability, stress
 resistant, hardiness, and toughening.

Conceptualized through
  Risk Factors (Maladjustment)
  Protective factors
Four categories
  Background conditions (poverty)
  Community resources (teachers)
  Social relations (peers)
  Personal Characteristics (cognitive functioning)
         Community Resilience

Resiliency about the interaction with
 individual and environment.
Ecological, Contextual
Community Resilience
  the ability of a community to not only deal with
   adversity but in doing so reach a higher level of
         Community Resilience

Comprises three components
  interactions that are experienced as a
  the expression of sense of community,
  community action.

  Community Competence
  Sense of community
 The School Community: A Qualitative
Study of Children’s Conceptualizations
            of their School

Development and Apprenticeship
School as a Community/Role of School
School Connectedness
Sense of Community and Sense of
          Research Questions

What are children's conceptualizations of
 the school community?

  Semi structured interviews

  46 Children (25F and 21M)
  Age Range 9-12 y.o. (10.8)
  Five Different Schools
       Findings and Interpretations
 People
   Friends, Teachers, Principal
 Places for Activities/Interaction
   Not geographic
 Safety
   Environment (Emotional and Physical)
 We’ve got great teachers and a nice principal…
  and over the years that I have been here, since
  like two years of pre-primary and up I’ve just had
  really nice teachers (female, aged 11)
 Well I know lots of people in my school
  community and most of my friends are from
  within the school and I know my mum knows lots
  of people from the school community as well
  (female, aged 12)
           Places for Interaction
 We’ve got good facilities, we’ve got a good
  library for books and learning and all that stuff
 We just had the sports carnival, so that’s fun.
  We had the interschool sports last term
 Well at lunch time and recess like I play with
  them, and sometimes after school and
  sometimes on weekends and holidays and we
  just go to the movies or down the park or play at
  each others houses.
 I feel good about my school community because
  I know that I’m safe around here and I know all
  the places I need to go and where everything is,
  so I can’t get lost… if I’m at school I know where
  I am
 Well, sometimes after the weekend, you come
  back and there’s glass all over the floor and beer
  bottles and there’s rubbish around the school
  and graffiti. I feel bad because everybody’s put a
  lot of effort into it and just say if you come back
  and it’s all wrecked like that
 Findings and Interpretation Cont…
  School (Teachers, Principal, Student Council)
  Process of Change
  School Facilities
         Cooperation and Influence
 All the people joining together, and if you had a group of
  kids who didn’t really care, I don’t think it would be all
  that good and we wouldn’t get what we wanted .I think
  like that kids care – it makes it better.
 Well, student councilors, they talk with our deputy
  principal, and they discuss issues and you can have
  them brought up at the assembly and they come back
  and discuss them and they come back and decide about
  it, so you can just come and tell the deputy or a councilor
  and they will discuss it at their meetings, because they
  have one every Thursday lunchtime

There’s lots of sports equipment and
 we’ve recently, about two months ago, we
 were in the Jump Rope for Heart to raise
 money for people. Some money came
 back and we had some money to spend
 on the class and after this year’s finished it
 goes into the sports shed

Children can conceptualize school as a
Role of School in wider community.
Significance of Relationships.
Implications for Curricula
Children's Voice
Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll – The
Rocky Road through High School
         Research Questions

What are the relationships between risk
 and protective factors that impact on
What are the predictors of Sense of
 Longitudinal and Cross sectional
 Quantitative
 Participants
  98 Primary (Yr 7) Children (m f in 6 Schools)
  95 Secondary (Yr 8) Children ( m f in 2 schools)
 Scales
  Children's Depression Inventory (CDI)
  Self Perception Profile (SPP)
  Adolescent Coping Scale (ACS)
  Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM)
 Primary
  CDI scores (0-37/54) M=8
  PSSM scores (35-88/90) M=71
  PSSM Predicted by CDI and ACS (Ref to others).
 Secondary
  CDI scores (0-29/54) M=8
  PSSM scores (36-85/90) M=64
  PSSM Predicted by CDI
 Gender
  Differences in coping, interpersonal problems, physical
   appearance, relationship with others, future happiness
   and behavior.

There is difference between Primary and
 Secondary Students.
Different types of coping used.
Implications for interventions
Promotion of wellbeing
          Overall Conclusions

Young children can conceptualize
SoC and SoB are important.
Measurement Issues
  Multidimensional concept
  Gender, culture, SES
Interventions at school/community level.

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