Identity Construction through Schooling: Listening to Students’ Voices

Mar. 20, 2009

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 8 Number 1 (2009), pages 80-88.

One of the main problems faced by several educational systems around the world is educational exclusion. Portugal is no exception. It is recognized that those who drop out of education are at risk of social exclusion, with reduced opportunities to participate in society. In order to understand this, the authors reconceptualiszed the school as a community of practice. According to this notion, students not only appropriate academic knowledge, but also new ways of being and perceiving themselves and others, and school practice itself. The paper's purpose is to better understand educational exclusion from the perspective of at-risk students. How do their constructed positional identities originate ways of being, relating and acting in relation to school agents and practices? The authors developed four focus group interviews with students presenting high rates of truancy and failure. Against their expectations, several students showed intent of pursuing their own path within the school system and saw themselves as capable of changing the conditions of failure in order to succeed in school.

Updated: May. 18, 2009