UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

What is the meaning of disengagement as lived by students who left school without graduating Loncaric, Mladen A


This study was designed to explore the meaning of disengagement from school as experienced by those who left school before graduating. Data for the study was gathered using an unstructured interview format. The research produced authentic narrative accounts of the meaning of disengagement for the individual participants. A cross case comparison of these narratives indicated the presence of three common streams of movement. As children, each of the participants were involved in an escalating cumulation of problems which over time, increased in scope and intensity. Their personal vulnerabilities generated through a troubled background, when coupled with the more complex demands of the secondary system, translated into an increased school maladjustment. The third movement involved a crystallizing of previous experiences and attitudes and an engulfment in a spoiled identity. The stories collected indicated that a comprehensive theory of disengagement must be built on a holistic perspective. Beyond the events, experiences, and circumstances that contribute to a disengagement process, questions of individual interpretation and meaning must also be considered. Finally, the thesis raises questions about the relationship of school practices and dropout experiences.

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