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Students' Need for Belonging in the School Community

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Abstract

Defining sense of community as a feeling of belongingness within a group, this article reviews research about students' sense of acceptance within the school community to address three questions: Is this experience of belongingness important in an educational setting? Do students currently experience school as a community? And how do schools influence students' sense of community? Conceptually, the review reflects a social cognitive perspective on motivation. This theoretical framework maintains that individuals have psychological needs, that satisfaction of these needs affects perception and behavior, and that characteristics of the social context influence how well these needs are met. The concern here is how schools, as social organizations, address what is defined as a basic psychological need, the need to experience belongingness. The findings suggest that students' experience of acceptance influences multiple dimensions of their behavior but that schools adopt organizational practices that neglect and may actually undermine students' experience of membership in a supportive community.
... Individuals may identify with and become part of the group only when there are shared values and aspirations that underpin or are central to a sense of belonging (Manka, 2022). A sense of belonging is also embedded in a sense of community and a sense of group membership (Allen & Bowles, 2012;Antonsich, 2010;Osterman, 2000;St-Amand et al., 2017). This implies that a sense of belonging is central to a community where people share a space, values, and aspirations; consequently, a shared emotional bond and a sense of community belonging are developed (Manka, 2022;Osterman, 2000;Slee, 2019;Tabane & Human-Vogel, 2010). ...
... A sense of belonging is also embedded in a sense of community and a sense of group membership (Allen & Bowles, 2012;Antonsich, 2010;Osterman, 2000;St-Amand et al., 2017). This implies that a sense of belonging is central to a community where people share a space, values, and aspirations; consequently, a shared emotional bond and a sense of community belonging are developed (Manka, 2022;Osterman, 2000;Slee, 2019;Tabane & Human-Vogel, 2010). Dost and Smith (2023) reiterate that: ...
... Central to a sense of community is oneness, unity, commitment to one another, and a shared feeling that members' needs will be accomplished together (Osterman, 2000). A sense of group membership is fulfilled when people join a group that bears character traits that are similar to their own. ...
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A sense of belonging is one of the fundamental human needs, which occurs when a person feels supported, accepted, and included in a variety of social situations. A university has a duty to create an atmosphere that encourages students to feel more a part of the campus community. That would enhance students’ success, achievement, motivation, and retention, as well as their wellness and mental health. The study explored the sense of belonging of part-time students enrolled in part-time programmes in higher education. A qualitative case study was conducted, and group interviews with first-year, second-year, and third-year students conveniently sampled produced the data to gain in-depth knowledge of part-time students’ sense of belonging. It was found that both full-time students and non-academic staff did not treat part-time students fairly during their stay on campus. Again, the study revealed that part-time students had no access to library facilities like full-time students do. On the other hand, students appreciated the support they received from their lecturers. It is recommended that higher institutions of learning improve students’ well-being and create a conducive environment for part-time students to feel accepted, respected and cared for.
... Engagement is essential to learning [3,[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]. Engagement can be defined as "a psychological process, specifically, the attention, interest, investment, and effort students expend in the work of learning." ...
... Students who are engaged demonstrate greater participation, motivation, and effort [24,40], while disengaged students can be disruptive, have lower achievement, and demonstrate boredom [41,42]. Students were more engaged in classrooms rated high in emotional climate [3,24,43,44] and had better academic outcomes [17,18,40,[45][46][47][48], perhaps because they were engaged [3] (Reyes 2012). In fact, it is often described as feeling "in the zone" [14]. ...
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This paper proposes a new perspective on implementing neuroeducation in the classroom. The pandemic exacerbated the mental health issues of faculty and students, creating a mental health crisis that impairs learning. It is important to get our students back in “the zone”, both cognitively and emotionally, by creating an ideal learning environment for capturing our students and keeping them—the Synergy Zone. Research that examines the classroom environment often focuses on the foreground—instructors’ organizational and instructional aspects and content. However, the emotional climate of the classroom affects student well-being. This emotional climate would ideally exhibit the brain states of engagement, attention, connection, and enjoyment by addressing the mind, brain, and heart. This ideal learning environment would be achieved by combining proposed practices derived from three areas of research: flow theory, brain synchronization, and positive emotion with heart engagement. Each of these enhances the desired brain states in a way that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. I call this the Synergy Zone. A limitation of this proposed model is that implementation of some aspects may be challenging, and professional development resources might be needed. This essay presenting this perspective provides the relevant scientific research and the educational implications of implementation.
... Existing research on the relationship between self-efficacy and classmate support is limited. According to these studies (Osterman, 2000;Suárez, 2019;Villegas-Puyod, 2020), there appears to be a positive correlation between self-efficacy and peer support. As this study analyzes the mediating impact of teacher and classmate support on the link between test self-efficacy and speaking anxiety in a multiple mediator model, the predictive role of self-efficacy on teacher and classmate support must be assessed. ...
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The main purpose of this research is to assess the influence of teacher and student support in reducing speaking anxiety. Learners' self-efficacy was also explored in relation to the influence of teacher and classmate support on lowering speaking fear. For the goals of the study, 94 English Language Teaching Department (ELT) students from Atatürk University in Türkiye participated as the study's working group during the autumn term of the 2021-2022 academic year. The information was gathered using the Classmate Support Scale, the Teacher Support Scale, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, and the English-Speaking Anxiety Scale. The Amos and SPPS 22 programs were used to examine the data. The SPSS Macro Process tool was utilized in the study to compute the indirect impact estimates of the variables. The findings revealed a link between teacher support and self-efficacy. Moreover, classmate support exhibited a favorable relationship with self-efficacy. The findings demonstrated that the stronger the learner's self-efficacy, the less speaking anxiety they experienced during oral presentations. These findings indicate that teacher and classmate support have mediating roles in the link between ELT university students' self-efficacy and English-speaking anxiety. Article visualizations: </p
... It is plausible that students who perceive themselves as accepted by peers and supported by teachers are less likely to disengage from school or experience higher levels of schoolrelated stress (Osterman, 2000). In fact, school resources such as perceived social support, positive school relationships, and having high school connectedness might be potential buffers against perceived schoolwork overload, and so developing school burnout (Salmela-Aro, Kiuru, Pietikäinen, & Jokela, 2008). ...
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Despite the importance of school connectedness and bullying victimization in students’ school burnout, to our knowledge, very few studies have analyzed their reciprocal associations, and most of them have used cross-sectional designs. So, the nature and directions of these relations have not been established yet. The general aim of this study was to address this gap by testing a longitudinal model of the association between the mentioned variables in a group of Italian students. The participants are 363 students from Italian secondary schools (34% females; Mage = 13.35, SD = 1.47), who took part in three waves of data collection. One hundred and eighty-four students attended middle school (45% females; Mage = 12.01, SD = 0.46), and 179 students attended high school (22% females; Mage = 14.62, SD = 0.836). The adolescents filled out a questionnaire containing self-report measurements of studied variables three times, with an interval of 6 months. At both school levels, the results show the reciprocal and longitudinal role of school connectedness in reducing burnout, and of school burnout in reducing the sense of connectedness to school, both directly and indirectly. On the contrary, bullying victimization is not longitudinally associated with school burnout, whereas it negatively predicts the level of students’ connectedness to school. The study findings have revealed the importance of considering longitudinal and reciprocal associations among school burnout, connectedness, and bullying victimization, and are discussed referring to their implications for research and intervention efforts aimed at promoting students’ school well-being.
... There are various extended definition versions of sense of belonging gathered from the body of literature. The majority of old definitions of sense of belonging emphasize its social implications in school and relatedness (Osterman, 2000;Wehlage et al., 1989;Finn, 1989;Baumeister & Leary, 1995), whereas recent and progressive definitions included security, identity, academic and psychological development (Jethwani-Keyser, 2008). While detachment and non-engagement in instruction cause students to lose interest, cut losses, and reach rock bottom, a student with a sense of belonging is more likely to remain mentally open and engage in a new but related information. ...
... For new types of relationships between teachers and students to form, a relational pedagogy requires 'an improvisational character' (Van Manen, 2016, p. 18) to negotiate ways of being-in-relation, which is premised on identifying and creating space within the school context for these relations to form. Further, the de-institutionalisation of relationships enables the removal of bureaucratic and impersonal barriers to relationships (Osterman, 2000). ...
Article
Research on international students suggests they have a low sense of belonging at the U.S. institutions they attend. This study examined whether academic advisor’s cultural empathy, advisor-advisee rapport, and international students’ advising satisfaction influenced international students’ perspectives of belonging to the institution. We further examined whether cultural empathy and advisor-advisee rapport mediated the effect of advising satisfaction on international students’ sense of belonging. The cross-sectional quantitative study used a convenience sample of 209 international students enrolled in two institutions in the United States. Results indicated that cultural empathy and student advising satisfaction had a statistically significant influence on the sense of belonging, not advisor-advisee rapport, and cultural empathy mediated the effect of advising satisfaction on sense of belonging. We offered recommendations for institutions and academic advisors when working with international students.
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In this qualitative study, we share the musical experiences of seven Ghanaian university music students who primarily play a brass instrument in a university band. The purpose of this study is to illuminate these students’ musical experiences during their pre-tertiary years to better understand what those experiences were and how they impacted their current musical abilities and understandings. The research questions for this study are: What were the formal musical experiences of Ghanaian university music majors who play Western-style brass instruments before entering university? What music teaching and learning methods did they experience prior to entering university? Who were the people who taught them music prior to entering university? Findings indicate that musical spaces were mostly outside of the regular school curriculum, including extra-curricular school regimental bands, church brigades, and town bands. Music learning was non-sequential throughout students’ pre-tertiary experiences. Lack of access to instruments outside of rehearsals was a barrier to individual practice. Participants showed a lack of clarity about their music teachers’ credentials, experience, and backgrounds but their answers suggest that professional development and training programs for teachers would be beneficial. It is recommended that Ghanaian brass band music education is restructured in places where it already exists and where pre-tertiary students choose to play, to include more comprehensive and sequential instrumental music education.
Chapter
The study of academic engagement and motivation, at its core, focuses on the “fire” that fuels students' participation in the educational process. Tens of thousands of studies have been conducted on these topics and so have much to offer investigators, interventionists, and educators who wish to optimize student academic success and development. This entry provides overviews and definitions of the relatively distinct lines of work on motivation and engagement, as well as their individual strengths and limitations, before arguing that these approaches can be seen as complementary when combined into a process model of motivational resilience and vulnerability. Taken as a whole, this work suggests that when students are motivationally resilient (i.e., choose challenging academic tasks, are highly engaged, cope adaptively, and persist in the face of setbacks) they will learn more deeply, perform better, and benefit more from school. A large body of research has focused on the personal and interpersonal factors that shape student motivation and engagement. This entry identifies a dozen major motivational theories that have distinguished multiple facets of students' academic identities (e.g., self‐efficacy, mindsets, belonging) and suggested a variety of organizational, curricular, pedagogical, and interpersonal supports that shape students' development across early and middle childhood.
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A three-year study of students' experiences and stories sheds some light on what administrators should know to curb the pervasive problem of peer harassment.
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The present study examined the relationship between peer relations and self-esteem. Specifically, this study investigated how peer acceptance and friendship were related to self-esteem in an adolescent population. Five hundred and forty-two ninth-grade students were classified by sociometric group and presence or absence of reciprocal friendships. Results indicate no significant difference in self-esteem scores across sociometric groups. However, subjects with at least I reciprocal friend had higher self-esteem scores than subjects without a reciprocal friend. Furthermore, there did not appear to be a cumulative effect of number of friendships on self-esteem scores. The importance of friendship to the development of self-esteem is discussed, as are the implications for intervention programs such as social skills training for children who may lack a close friendship. The authors indicate a need for further study of the relationship between peer relations and the correlates of self-esteem.