535.2 Student perceptions of the “just world” of the school: Impact on future career and civic behaviors

Friday, August 3, 2012: 12:40 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Lawrence J. SAHA , Sociology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Dispositions and motivations toward future adult life are crystalized during adolescence, and one of the key agents in this process is student experiences in the school.  Adolescent students can be very sensitive to the differential treatments of teachers toward them and their fellow students, particularly with respect to fairness and justice. In many respects, their perceptions of the way adult society works is influenced by the way their school and classroom work.  To this extent, fairness and justice in classrooms is comparable to a civics "hidden curriculum". Using the data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Youth (LSAY), this paper analyzes the school and  classroom justice perceptions of the 1998 Year 9 cohort of a representative national sample of students (N= 9289) and the extent to which these perceptions uniquely affect civic behavioral dispositions (such as trusting government, volunteering and political engagement), future university attendance, and entry into the job market by 2008.  The justice scale includes seven items relating to fairness in grade allocation, teacher attention giving, teacher listening, and student feelings of comfort and security. The importance and implications of perceptions of fairness and justice in school contexts is discussed with respect to future individual level attainments and civic behaviors, and the impact of these justice perceptions on future civil society.