Improving the School Environment from a Student Perspective:Tensions and opportunities

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Backman, Ylva ; Alerby, Eva ; Bergmark, Ulrika ; Gardelli, Åsa ; Hertting, Krister ; Kostenius, Caterine ; Öhrling, Kerstin (2012)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v3i1.22011
  • Subject: learning; student voice; well-being; qualitative methods; school environment

Managerial documents for the national school system in Sweden have emphasised taking students’ voices as a starting point in forming education, and several previous studies have indicated the benefits of giving students opportunities to participate in school. This study aimed to explore students’ reflections on what they would do if they were to decide how to make school the best place for learning. A total of 200 students aged 11 to 15 years from four schools (rural and urban) in two municipalities in the northern part of Sweden participated. The empirical data consisted of the students’ written reflections. The findings fall within four themes: (i) influencing educational settings; (ii) striving for reciprocity; (iii) managing time struggles; and (iv) satisfying well-being needs. Tensions between the students’ previous experiences and future visions appeared. The findings can offer direction regarding aspects of the learning environment in school that could be improved.Keywords: learning; student voice; well-being; qualitative methods; school environment(Published: 1 March 2012)Citation: Education Inquiry Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2012, pp.19–35
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