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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/27585

Title: Being, Becoming, and Belonging: Exploring Students' Experiences of and Engagement within the International School in Hong Kong
Authors: Jabal, Eric
Advisor: Bascia, Nina
Department: Theory and Policy Studies in Education
Keywords: student engagement
mixed methods
international education
international schools
Hong Kong
Issue Date: 9-Jun-2011
Abstract: An engaging education attends to the subjective quality of students’ perceptions and experiences within learning and school life: It converges on whether, how, and why students meaning-make and belong within the school; and focuses on the conditions for their attachment, participation, and commitment within school programmes, practices, policies, and people. Three main questions guided this two-phase, mixed-methods study: 1) What makes international schools engaging places for students? 2) What meanings do students attach to key areas of their day-to-day experiences within the international school in Hong Kong? 3) How might re-imagining student engagement through a cosmopolitan lens lead to clearer understandings of students’ experiences within the international school? In Phase 1, an achieved sample of 729 senior secondary students at 9 purposively selected schools were surveyed using a mainly Likert scale questionnaire: to describe their socio-demographics; to examine the relationships between their socio-demographics, attitudinal features, and schooling experiences, as measured by the researcher-designed Experience of International School – Revised (EIS-R) scale; and to cluster using their socio-demographics and attitudinal profiles. Building on the tripartite cluster solution, Phase 2 used observations and interviews with 30 purposively sampled teacher-leaders and 34 students, from across the three clusters, to investigate how the “institutional habitus” (Thomas, 2002) the students encountered at two international schools shaped their experiences of and engagement within the contexts of school culture, community, curriculum, and co-curriculum. A two-stage process of thematic content analysis revealed two super ordinate themes: 1) race/ethnic, linguistic, and nationality identities intersected to shape and challenge patterns of relationships amongst students (and between students/families) and the school to both include and exclude; and 2) the institutional contexts supported and constrained students’ sense of belonging therein. Overall, seen through a cosmopolitan lens the study implications are discussed as three lessons to achieve a better fit between students and the international school: 1) Attend to the school’s living and learning environment; 2) Take a cosmopolitan turn to school for cosmopolitan subjectivity; and 3) Adopt a student engagement-driven approach to improve and reform school policy, administration, and practice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/27585
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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