Children's well-being . the responsibility of adults

Student thesis: Master programme thesis

  • Kari Jørgensen
4. semester, Data-driven Organisational Development (efter-videreuddannelse) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
This study is based on the 117 free text responses from 7th Grade students' identification of ‘ambiance’ as essential for their well-being at Helsingør School. My interest in investigating their well-being stems from the very small fluctuations seen in the results of the National Well-being Survey. This led to a study using Natural Language Processing (NLP), unsupervised text analysis, performed on essays written by the students, where ‘ambiance’ was designated as a focus area from a student perspective. In my master’s project and on this background, I have investigated whether the assumption that ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ have an impact on the students' well-being at Helsingør School is simply a school leader's assumption, or if there is an experience among staff and managers at the school that this is significant. My contribution to the existing (Danish) research in the field is partly the chosen method in relation to data from the employees (free texts), partly a suggested definition and impact of the concepts ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ when seen in a school context.
With the wish to give the teachers and educators the opportunity to contribute their experience and position to the meaning of ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ in relation to student well-being, the choice of method fell on datafication of the free texts written by the staff about these concepts using NLP, unsupervised text analysis. This method has not been used before, offering teachers and educators the possibility to write their opinion, in their own words. This method was also used in connection with the study of the students' well-being, a result on which this dissertation is based.
Focus group interview was chosen as a method in relation to uncovering the managers’ positions to these concepts, as well as how the managers’ roles are in relation to these. The focus group interview uncovered a number of themes in relation to ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ that the managers are interested in. School researcher Louise Klinge was interviewed in an attempt to get closer to the description of an evocative classroom, a definition of the concepts of ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ and an answer to the question: What is the definition of ‘basic ambiance’?
In the focus group interview, the managers reflected on their own practice and shed light on behaviors and practices, that they previously were not aware of. The focus group interview took on the character of action research in practice, where reflection on one's own practice as well as budding insights in relation to significant actions with a view to students' well-being were articulated and described. The research indicates that it is the adult's responsibility to create a constructive and learning-promoting atmosphere in the classroom or in the community around the students.
The biggest limitation has been a poor response rate on the free text survey as I only managed to get 16 free texts from potentially more than 200 teachers and educators regarding their position on and experience with ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ as significant factors of the students’ well-being at Helsingør School. These free texts were intended to be the primary data source, but too few responded. Why so few responded despite postponing the deadline three times and sending many reminders to write a free text is identified as an interesting subject for further investigation.
There are several interesting perspectives that it will make sense to examine further. First and foremost, it will make sense to challenge the existing social construction in relation to what the primary task of teachers and educators is. They have not been heard in a way in which they could unreservedly describe their experiences and attitudes in relation to the significance of ‘mood’ and ‘ambiance’ for the well-being of students. Perhaps it will be possible to involve these professional groups in another future design e.g., a data sprint. Another phenomenon that is worth investigating further is the attitude towards and communication of the National Well-being Survey. Do we believe in the data collected? Do we use data for the benefit of the students' well-being, or is it just considered as 'completed' of another work assignment?

Publication date25 May 2022
Number of pages65
ID: 471216565