AbstractThe aim of this enquiry was to identify the drivers that create a strong and effective relationship between a boarding community in a Tanzanian international school and the whole school community. Boarders, day students, teachers, boarding parents and administrators provided data on the opportunities and challenges of living and working in such a school, the impact this has on them both personally and professionally, and possible strategies that could be put in place to support a positive school culture and learning environment for all within the community.
A range of literature was reviewed focusing on boarding schools in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia and Africa, and four research questions were identified to act as the basis of the investigation. The approach taken incorporated quantitative and qualitative elements in a mixed methods design. Issues of particular relevance to working with child participants in research projects were also explored in relation to ethical and methodological issues. Empirical data were collected through focus groups, online questionnaires and individual interviews.
The major outcomes of the study were directly linked to each of the four research questions. The boarding community clearly created many opportunities for the whole school community through having a positive effect on the school’s diversity, providing opportunities for the development of a range of friendships and professional connections, and leading to the school offering a wide range of extra-curricular and sporting activities. However, there are challenges for all concerned including personal and professional relationships, restrictions on the lives of students and adults, and workload. The boarding community clearly impacts the life and work of all members of the school in a wide variety of ways and the study identifies and engages with these.
Strategies that might be considered in terms of maximising the relationship between the boarding and whole school communities are also explored. These include appreciating the voice of all students, actively creating links between the day and boarding communities, appropriately staffing all areas of the school’s life and work, providing boarding parents with the professional training that they need, arranging a high-quality weekend programme which might include academic support, and creating a later start to the day for older students.
The study also drew out possible topics for further research, including why day students appear to find it more difficult than do boarders to develop friendships across the school; why the school’s facilities are rarely used by day students during evenings and weekends, and why teachers and administrators find their workload so stressful within such a whole school community.
|Date of Award
|3 Apr 2019
|Mary Hayden (Supervisor) & Jeff Thompson (Supervisor)