Summary: Living together in Secundary Schools: A case study
This research aims to discover the strategies used by schools in building positive relationships and in maintaining them in different situations and contexts. It pays special attention to proactive actions carried out by schools to solve the problems and conflicts they come across.
The main conviction to be tested is that internal school variables such as the implication of students on what’s going on in schools are critical for the creation of a safe and ordered environment.
The research process takes the following meaningful aspects: First, the experience of schools, whose answer to the problems has been systematic, was put forward. The selection of schools and the informants within them was nor arbitrary. They represent a small example of schools confronting violence and disaffection, sheltered by the guidance and resources of The Basque Government Programme: “Living together in Schools”.
Sources of evidence come from interviews with qualified informants (project coordinators, school management teams, teachers, students and families) involved in the projects, questionnaires answered by students (262 students), document analysis (school and curriculum projects, school discipline code) and in some way, direct observation.
As a common denominator, it can be said that each school chooses a cluster of strategies, a personalised cocktail, derived from the diagnosis made at the start of the project. There is a common attitude as well which drives schools of the research to rethink their positions and values, making positive “living together” project a new way of working with students, families and the wider community.
The most valued strategy is both an attitude and the understanding that positive relationships are crucial and that effort must be put by teachers towards their improvement. As well as normative framework is a priority for school, at least at the start of the project: limits are established, rules are communicated and made explicit. Sometimes students are given some say and values in which rules are based are always explained carefully.