In the course of my work experience as an educator, I often found compared with boys who were demonstrating, in different ways, problems related to their school experience and that is expressed essentially in a feeling of discomfort that often also interested in other areas of life of the boy. Motivations and causal plots are often difficult to define in a linear way, the variables are always multiple, some linked to the characteristics and personal history of the boy, other domestic institution school, yet other types of socio-cultural.
With my work I will then explore aspects of discomfort school this term an uncomfortable condition that occurs mainly and particularly within the school life on the relational, behavioral and learning and not necessarily attributable to specific causes type of psychopathology, highlighting the complexity.
The age group of reference is that of 11-15 years, or better after entering the study cycle of the secondary school entrance in the upper cycle of two years. From the analyzes carried out, it follows that it is precisely in these moments of transition that the discomfort is manifested in a particular school with behavior problems and more evident, while in the course of a cycle of teaching is mostly submerged and most obvious cases are attributable in uncomfortable situations more rooted or otherwise related to personal and / or context specific.
Defining the Discomfort
1. The difficulties of a single definition
There is a vast literature on youth problems, the terms of which are related maladjustment, deviance, marginality. It is associated with a wide range of behaviors adopted by subjects in childhood, especially preteens and teenagers, with a level of variable severity. There is talk of discomfort:
- Not serious: which consists of the states of malaise to experiences of failure (school, sports, relational) and is expressed with behaviors closures, of aggression, of worthlessness;
- Intermediate, which is manifested by transgressive behavior often acted in the group and with the group (occasional use of drugs, gang membership, intimidation weakest);
- Grave, which is manifested by self-harm (escape, drug addiction) and transgressive illegal (theft, drug dealing, handling stolen) (Liverta Sempio, Confalonieri, Scaratti, 1999).
Discomfort school is a complex phenomenon linked yes to school, as a place of onset and maintenance, but also personal and social variables, such as the psychological characteristics and traits on the one hand and the family background / cultural and other. It is to be determined by the interaction of individual and environmental factors and is expressed in a wide variety of problem situations that expose the student to the risk of failure and disaffection with school. Problems at school are of different types and have different levels of severity, are often not the result of a specific cause, but are due to the competition of many factors that affect both the student and the context in which he finds himself (socio-cultural environment , family atmosphere, quality of the school and teachers).
Mancini and Gabrielli (1998) define it as "an emotional state, not significantly correlated to psychopathological disorders type, language or cognitive delay, which is manifested through a set of dysfunctional behaviors (poor attendance, inattention, behavior prevalent rejection and noise, bad relationship with his teammates, but also absolute lack of critical spirit), which do not allow the person to live properly the class and to learn successfully, using the best of their cognitive, affective and relational. "
Just that its composite nature and multifactorial, the internal variety of the problem, the sociological and psychological nuances that characterize it, the need to read it in a systemic perspective as well as connected to a vision of the single guy, all of these things make it difficult arrive at a clear definition of static and uncomfortable in general and discomfort school in particular, so that in my view would be more appropriate to speak of hardships, due to the wide range of expressions through which they can demonstrate and meanings which they take .
2. General aspects of the phenomenon
Discomfort school is one aspect of youth problems, which, as we shall deepen later, can manifest itself in various ways, including disruptive behavior in the classroom, restlessness, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, attention, difficulties in integrating the group, low motivation, low efficiency, abandonment, school dropouts.
We are concerned, as I mentioned in the introduction, personal variables (eg. Self-esteem, self-efficacy, cognitive components) and contextual variables and relational (eg. The living environment, the school environment, the relationship between the pupil and the teacher, between the family and the teacher) and depending on the degree of involvement we can talk about uncomfortable to rise within the subject and discomfort to source external to the subject.
It 'important to emphasize that at this point has a similar schematic descriptive purposes only in order to better define and understand the phenomenon, while in reality the boundaries are never as sharp and defined, but rather subtle and changing. The further examination carried out on the subject during the preparation of this study, it became evident to me as to find explanations linear, cause-effect, to identify the factors responsible for the discomfort is simplistic and misleading. The complex psychological and socio-cultural variables that are involved and their subjective intersect with the personal story of the boy make the unpredictable way in which each individual will manifest his discomfort, in a wide variety of situations ranging from discomfort to all interior and quiet striking behavior, disturbed and disturbing.
The prospect to be taken is to my mind kind of circular and systemic. The individual can be defined as a dynamic system in which interacting genetic, psychological, emotional, social and environmental. In addition, the macro-institutional and cultural traditions is closely connected to the micro environment of life and personal relationships.
Human being is fundamentally relational, continuously engaged in the relationship with other human beings and thus to enable adaptive processes of integration of intra and interpersonal dimensions. The type and quality of relationships affect the functioning of the person. This leads us to understand how a situation of distress school is not to be treated as a problem of the student but as a condition of difficulty of all components of the system which is part of the boy.
Among the possible manifestations of discomfort at school we are:
Such persons often show a discrepancy between the estimated cognitive potential and the mode of operation in terms of academic achievement. These subjects, in other words, would manifest ability and potential normal: learning difficulties would depend on a poor use of their cognitive resources, due to causes other than in relation to the various schools of thought and above all the different situations.
Divestment / bending performance
Not to be confused with the situation of learning difficulties.
Relationship difficulties / emotional
In particular physical or verbal aggression directed at peers, teachers, objects; hyperactivity; low level of attention and frustration tolerance; excessive emotional reactions (both positive and negative); anxiety.
Immobility or reduced activity, lack of curiosity and interest, tendency to isolate, generalized fatigue.
These aspects should be to influence each other and intersecting variables starting going to lead to a situation of circularity that heightens the experience of discomfort boy. Again, therefore, it is clear the complexity of the phenomenon, the mutual influence of the variables involved not only in the sense of their possible connections but also in their being determined by the same hardships in a circularity that makes it difficult, often define the boundaries causal. Among the possible outcomes / effects of discomfort school include:
- Pupil is feeling uncomfortable, dispersion, deviance
- Discomfort of the teacher and school-system dysfunction
- Discomfort of the family (following the discomfort of the child, which can take the family to blame and away from school to avoid further frustration or blame the child for unfulfilled expectations).
Specific Aspect of Discomfort
1. Factors related to the subject
I have previously shown that the discomfort is a complex and multi factorial phenomenon. Let's look at the factors within the subject:
- General psychological characteristics of the subject
- Such as low self-esteem, low motivation, immaturity of the ego (affective inhibition, poor emotional control, separation anxiety, low frustration tolerance), inadequate style of attribution (attribution of the causes of events to external factors independent of the subject)
- Poor level of knowledge
- As poverty of cognitive content, deficient cognitive structures (how information is organized and represented in memory), inadequate cognitive processes (such as the cognitive system interprets and operate on reality), learning style very practical (rote learning rather than tending to the description understanding; lack of metacognitive skills).
2. Contextual Factors
Let's look at the factors related to the family:
- Socio-cultural disadvantage and shortcomings of relational context
- For disadvantaged socio-cultural situation does not mean so much the family's economic condition rather than factors such as the level of parental education, the area and the conditions of residence, whether it belongs to minority cultures / languages, lack of affection, the absence of a solid network of support to the family. A high socio-cultural level can affect in various ways, eg. provides an environment rich in stimuli and subsidies and direct stimulation of superior quality, there is a higher sensitivity compared to the learning process and the value of school and education and it is so easy that the child is motivated to learn and to academic success. These factors interact with those linked to the characteristics of the family atmosphere, the proposed values, attention and interest of the parents to the child's school activities, content that addresses, daily attention to what happened at school. The quality of this attention, however, must be adjusted to avoid the excessive and inadequate attention, resulting in excessive pressure and usually accompanies the development of ambitious projects (the most interested in the results that the real learning). You can have a boomerang effect that the child receives at the beginning but then the stress and reacts negatively and in the fear of not living up to parental expectations can withdraw and refuse the challenge with school tests.
- Inadequate educational attitudes
- How overprotective attitude (can foster a lack of commitment in dealing with new situations and the daily difficulties ,. and the rules of living together); authoritarian attitude (the child may react with closure or waiver initiative, or trend opposition and aggression); permissive attitude (can be experienced by the child as a manifestation of deep interest not; not conducive to the development of the ability to tolerate frustration); devaluation of the child, inconsistency in attitudes.
Let's look at the factors within the school:
- Facilities and services absent or inadequate
- Methodologies and Relations: (Under-utilization of cultural resources of the territory; uncooperative relationships with family; training teachers not able to prevent difficulties; teaching style of transmissive-notional; educational style authoritarian, undemocratic, poor relational skills of the teacher)
Let's look at the factors within the social context:
- Environment and Culture: (Coming from the economically poor; defaults territorial and institutional marginalization economic, geographical, political culture of indifference; socio-cultural models violent).
3. Early school leaving
Discomfort school, as we have seen, takes many forms, from learning disabilities, low efficiency compared to the real capacity of the subject, absenteeism, disaffection, school drop up to behavioral problems such as attention and concentration difficulties, motor hyperactivity, poor frustration tolerance , phenomena of bullying and bullying. Then there is the reality of the abandonment unaccompanied Act poster to leave the school but characterized by a hallway and disinvestment. It is a reality that encompasses other forms of non-school attendance: evasion, absenteeism, lower yield to the real learning ability, dissatisfaction, failure and drop, to bind to more specific aspects of social life such as risky behaviors.
Early school leaving is therefore present in our school in different forms in terms of observability: from the most explicit forms and obvious to most forms submerged. The first category comprises all events that involve an interruption of studies as a result of the impossibility of continuing the repeated failures in terms of efficiency, of a rejection of a reality source of negative emotions and frustrating, or the result of a choice or less rational and more or less shared between parents and children. These events, as also indicates Pelanda (1999), can be accompanied by opposing trends, expression of the need to rebel against requests-external impositions and therefore school, or from feelings of anger against the school, seen as the cause of 'failure, or even, by feelings of depressive type, of inadequacy, of failure, low self-esteem and consequently withdrawal and disinvestment that may extend to other activities.
In the second group we find manifestations of discomfort submerged. The boy complains of boredom, of discontent, of indifference, sometimes confined to school, but most often generalized, to which the teenager can not give a meaning. In these cases there is a real abandonment of the school, but a fluctuation or lowering of performance accompanied by as much bending and lack of confidence in their abilities and possibilities and lack of pleasure in using their thoughts.
In both cases it is a sign of an underlying discomfort that can arise for the first time in adolescence referring to issues of change that it entails, and therefore have a transitory nature, but can also bind to difficulties already present, in a hidden way or difficult to detect, and exacerbated by the earlier developmental period that can therefore assume pathological character.
Sometimes it can be instead of how dysfunctional reactive with which the teenager tries to cope with shortages of external reality which, eg., The inadequacy of the school and the teaching staff, special family situations, etc.
The multiple factors, specified in the preceding paragraphs, weigh differently depending on dropping out of grade school. In fact, compulsory education are key factors for the socio-cultural order concerning the family, while in high school affect primarily the variables of a personal nature (desire to be economically independent, meaning the fall of the school in their lives, etc) (O. Liverta Sempio, 1999)
A reflection of this type is very important because the school is a test by which the teenager tries to find evidence to enable it to invest a positive self uncertain, still undefined at both the identity of the body that the thinking and cognitive skills, in terms of looking for adult identity. The failure in this fact only confirms a picture of himself devalued, inadequate, thus causing a boomerang effect that can also invest more aspects of reality also the future of the subject (Pelanda, 1999).
4. Discomfort and learning difficulties
In situations of objective difficulties and learning disabilities the triggering discomfort recurs. Often, in fact, the child who finds himself in this situation enacts abnormal behavior reactive (opposition, rejection, aggressiveness or inhibition, lack of motivation ...).
All this happens for a direct and immediate perception that he has of his own state, but also to the impact that these difficulties produce the entire relational system and life of the subject, in the same teachers and especially in the family. There is an impairment of the relationship between this student and his environment, to which the boy finds himself in a context of unfulfilled expectations, confusion, guilt and inadequacy, frustration, experienced by various components (family, school, subject itself ). This gave him a sense of inferiority and insecurity along with a progressive degradation of the image of himself, as a result of repeated failures and the consequent disapproval, express or implied, of the other, which only serves to increase its impact on existing difficulties. Here comes back again evident the complex and circular phenomenon of discomfort school, which often risks becoming uncomfortable at several levels: emotional, relational, psychological. Careful work of early screening (both relatively difficulties / disabilities in situations of risk that discomfort) and therefore prevention assumes a fundamental importance.
The term prevention I am referring to the set of actions relating to both the individual and his environment, designed to prevent the emergence of a state of distress or medical condition following or to minimize the consequences. Marcelli and estimates Braconnier identify three levels (Marcelli, Braconnier, 1999):
- Primary prevention, that is, an action at the level of the environment and / or the individual to prevent the occurrence of inconvenience / disorders;
- Secondary prevention, ie targeted action in response to early recognition of disruption / interference;
- Tertiary prevention, intervention that is specific and specialized level of noise / discomfort or overt appearance of complicating factors.
With regard to the discomfort school then we can identify three levels of intervention (Regoliosi, 1993):
- Prevention nonspecific factors compared to the normal adolescent developmental status to prevent the appearance of specific forms of disability;
- Specific primary prevention compared to the emergence of situations of hardship school relational and didactic;
- Specific prevention secondary school about discomfort in the form of repeated failures (repeated years) and drop-out, delinquency.
From what has been said in previous chapters shows that certain risk factors on which you need to go to take action to implement an effective prevention of distress at various levels of intervention.
We have seen that you can detect difficult situations unspecific that also affects the school area and which is closely linked to the developmental status of adolescence, therefore, quite "normal", and situations of mismatch school, where in fact there is a real difficulty in achieving a proper balance between student and school context, relational or educational level. We have also seen how the discomfort is manifested not only in the explicit forms and egregious conduct of a particular issue or transgressive but also in the most submerged and invisible inner pain, absences, silences and lack of involvement.
The first step in prevention is to be so careful observation: to recognize the discomfort and learn to recognize risk situations of discomfort.
Educational continuity is another aspect in my view essential to a 'preventive action that wants to be truly effective. If we reflect on the moment of transition from one cycle to another sweat it is clear that involves a certain degree of concern, especially with regard to the age group here examined. At a particular time as the pre-adolescence / adolescence such a passage is configured as an experience of restructuring of their role, of their skills and abilities.
Some research carried out in Italy show that the difficulties that children encounter in this step are primarily related to the relationship with teachers, then the method of study, the change of the class, the environment and the rules of the new school organization ( catharsis, 2004) The transition between school levels is thus an important test for the boy, who can draw reassurance and good self-esteem as well as the opposite. Educational continuity and school also allows us to manage in a coordinated and consistent any uncomfortable situations emerging.
Other key moments for an effective preventive strategy are also developing a network of family, school and local services for a coherent and integrated intervention with respect to youth issues general and specific, and the development of an educational psychology service in the schools.
So are multiple lines of intervention to prevent and cope with the discomfort school, as well as multiple is the very nature of the phenomenon, as I was able to expose in this work. The optics in which to ask yourself is in my opinion definitely systemic, a view that takes into account the complexity of the variables that are to activate and how increasingly specific and subjective with the intersection, influence and manifest and that considers not only discomfort as a problem of the individual, but rather a condition that belongs to the whole system of life in which the boy is inserted: class group, school, family, outside school. And 'the entire system, then that must be considered if you want to advance preventive, detection and recovery that are effective.