“It’s another world”: the case of pupils’ transition to a Turkish residential high school.

  • Margaret Halicioglu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This thesis examines the transition experience of 34 Turkish early adolescents, leaving families and hometowns, and moving to a highly competitive, bilingual, boarding school. While they are all academic high-achievers, the pupils come from a range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, with different levels of English. For the first eight weeks of the transition, and again in the last week of the academic year, pupils responded in writing to various prompts designed to ascertain what they were experiencing and feeling. Six pupils were selected for in-depth, follow-on interviews. The addition of researcher observations and school data helps to triangulate the results in this case study.A phenomenological approach assists in illuminating how the pupils transition to the new environment. Institutional, communal living is new for all, “another world”, and there is a range of reactions to all it entails, with everyone experiencing some difficulty at some stage of the process. While some pupils adjust relatively easily, some pupils do not complete the transition effectively. Analysis of the pupil’s words results in over-riding themes which influence the transition. Having strong residential friendships, certain characteristic traits, healthy family relationships and clear school structures, policies and practices all ease the adjustment process. Pupils undergo an intense experience, creating indelible memories, often positive, sometimes negative.The study starts to fill the gap in literature concerning children’s experiences at boarding schools and suggesting areas to which schools and parents should pay attention. It benefits from the subjective perspective of those living the experiences, recounted contemporaneously and vividly. Its conclusions include the fact that each pupil has a unique experience of transition.
Date of Award20 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorSam Carr (Supervisor) & Ceri Brown (Supervisor)


  • boarding school
  • transition to high school
  • Adolescent
  • Turkey

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