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Differentiated Function of School in Socio-Culturally Disadvantaged Context: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study from Turkey

Caliskan, Zuhal Zeybekoglu
Simsek, Hasan
Kondakçı, Yaşar
This study analyses the functioning of a school as a social system in an atypical context with the purpose of generating propositions to tackle educational problems confronted by socially and economically disadvantaged groups attending these schools. Adopting the constructivist grounded theory, the analysis suggests that there is a kind of “vicious cycle” in the functioning of this atypical school, which adversely affects the school system. Breaking the vicious cycle involves five basic propositions: (1) making school a better place than students’ homes, (2) overcoming the enduring difficulties of working in an atypical school, (3) multiplying learning opportunities, (4) prompting parents to assume more responsibility, (5) locating leadership that makes a difference. These propositions clarify the significance of informal subsystems, school community and the wider environment along with their enabling and blocking effects on a disadvantaged school system. Parallel to other studies on disadvantaged schools, the study highlights the need to refine the orthodox view of the concept of formal education and school, as well as the role of school principal, teachers and parents affiliated with atypical schools.