Self-image and relationships between students in high school classrooms

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Amalie Skat Nielsen
  • Cecilie Holmen Frost
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Danish high-schools are considered as an important development environment in which the young discover their self-image, but several studies stress that the young are not doing fine. The educational system reflects the individualistic society which leads us to wonder whether the impact of relationships between students in the classroom is undermined. Based on a focus group interview including three high school students and a psychosocial, narrative and post-modern theoretical foundation, this project explores what impact relationships in a high school classroom have for developing a self-image. Using a discursive analytic approach we got the chance to explore the positioning, identities and self-images emerging in the interaction between the students in the focus group. As a result of this research we found and interpreted that the self-image is very dependent on the specific context in which specific discourses emerge. In this view the self-image as a multidimensional phenomenon is considered valid. The relationships between students were considered of significance in maintaining stability and acceptance in one’s self-image. The self-images of the students were in constant movement between feeling alike and unique, dependent and independent from each other. Some students demonstrate a larger need in developing a common narrative with one or few others, where other students use multiple relationships in forming their identity. It is shown that relationships in the classrooms are of significance in relation to students’ wellbeing in high school and further to their academic achievements. However a gender-wise difference in, how the students experience and manage this, is discovered. It is suggested that students might internalize gender-wise categories why these are seen reflected in the self-images which further form the basis of the interaction in relationships between respectively girls and boys. The study points out that some students find it inadequate to bind oneself to either one or a few relationships. This leads to the post-modern argument that high school students are reflective in the use of one’s relationships in the establishment of a satisfactory self-image. Though people due to the constant reflectivity in the postmodern society never feel completely certain about their relationships, an evolutionary perspective points out how people by nature are helpful and regulated by emotions to adjust to their relationships in achieving a sense of security. Thereby it is suggested that the uncertainty in relationships partly is a social construction. Based on the finding of an existing reciprocal relationship between the social wellbeing and academic achievement of the high school students, it is suggested that psychological intervention in form of a process-consultative approach will be beneficial in high-school classrooms.
LanguageDanish
Publication date31 May 2019
Number of pages120
ID: 304824416