What about students asking for more discipline? Case study and reflections on high-school experience and autonomy

The aim of this paper is to discuss the social role of school considering the students’ experiences and their perceptions of the school rules. We relate a case study based on interviews with two high-school female students. In this interview, they both criticize the school procedures and ask for more strict rules and discipline. In our analysis, we examine the history of school as a disciplinary institution, and we also discuss the meaning attributed by the students to school experiences, family, adolescence, school rules and professional future. We interpret their request for more discipline regarding not only the social-historical context but also the student’s social practices and subjective meanings. We claim that educators must consider those subjective meanings and that school practices must include psychosocial analysis in order to enhance the autonomy of teachers and students. Finally, we conclude that school must sustain its authority and, at the same time, it must be open to understand and to incorporate differences.

Adolescents; Secondary education; Discipline; Moral development


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