Stories of school life: Perceptions by Hispanic, Yaqui, and Anglo middle school girls at risk.
AuthorColfer, Patricia Ann.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDuring recent years the education community has focused time, energy and research funds on addressing the problem of dropout students. If students are to remain in school, then educators need information from at risk students before they make the decision to withdraw. The purpose of this descriptive research was to gather information about the meaning of school from nine eighth grade middle school girls at risk. The girls represent three ethnic groups: Hispanic, Yaqui, and Anglo. The issues of culture, as well as gender and early adolescence were information areas targeted in the research design. During the first semester of the 1986-87 school year these girls told their stories of how they viewed school and their personal lives. Data collection utilized taped unstructured interviews, participant observation, journal writing, record collection and special information gathering writings. Numerous patterns emerged including past academic history, grade retention, academic interests and strengths, school survival techniques, maternal relationships, friendships, neglect, corruption, abuse, and personal addiction, to name but a few. Administration and staff were also interviewed to discover the meaning of at risk as held by individuals in one school. Teachers and counselors also commented on particular female students participating in this research. The data analysis disclosed that for all but one girl, school held no binding power. Attendance for the most part was based on the girls' need for escape from home, relief of boredom, finding friends, creating excitement, and experimentation with adult behaviors. The report offers suggestions to the research community and practitioners interested in redesigning middle level education to meet the needs of all female students, and concerned enough to examine practices which may contribute to a young girl's school failure.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education