Open Access: The book The Need to Belong in Secondary School is an Open Access title (DOI: 10.3224/96665045), which is free to download or can be bought as paperback. The book holds a Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ / Der Titel The Need to Belong in Secondary School (DOI: 10.3224/96665045) ist kostenlos im Open Access (PDF) herunterladbar oder kostenpflichtig als Print-Ausgabe erhältlich. Der Titel steht unter der Creative Commons Lizenz Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Our social interactions are driven by complex biopsychic processes that are complicated by the fact that humans are individuals and at the same time members of one or more social systems, such as schools. This book contributes to explaining the social mechanisms influencing students‘ “need to belong” fulfilment at school. The theoretical framework is informed by human needs understood as cognitive mechanisms of neural processes that regulate human behaviour and bio-values. The fieldwork was conducted in two secondary schools in Austria and Australia. Based on the findings, the transformative three-step approach suggests a course of action for student belonging.
Human emotional-cognitive brain processes, such as perception, feeling and reasoning, are essential for understanding the external world through social exchange with others. Our social interactions are driven by these complex biopsychic processes which are further complicated by human beings as individuals, and at the same time members of one or more social system/s. One such system is the school comprising different social levels such as the peers, the teachers, the school management and school social workers. The study’s theoretical framework is informed by human needs understood as cognitive mechanisms of neural processes that regulate human behaviour and bio-values. A distinction is determined between belonging as a biopsychic state and the “need to belong” to emphasise the practical issues that individual students may encounter in meeting their needs while considering the strategies to achieve belonging. The fieldwork was conducted in two secondary schools in Austria and Australia. The empirical study comprised focus group interviews to explore the nexus where the individual student convenes and interacts with the other members of the different social levels of the school system. Investigating the students verbalised feelings of belonging and non-belonging is key to identifying and explaining how the different social levels of the school tick from the students’ viewpoint. The main point is to determine the way in which the different school levels promote or hinder the students’ need fulfilment and facilitate student wellbeing – the term for the biopsychic state of a person with sufficient need regulation and satisfaction. Based on the findings, social work science guidelines suggest possible courses of action to remedy social problems. This is set against the backdrop of social works triple mandate as a profession and discipline.
Sharon du Plessis-Schneider: The Need to Belong in Secondary School A Social Work Science Study of Austrian and Australian Students 10.3224/96665045A
Sharon du Plessis-Schneider, MSW, is a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg in Dornbirn, Austria.
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The target group:
Lecturers and researchers in Social Work and Educational Science, social workers