Practically all pupils leaving the nine-year compulsory school continue their studies at the upper secondary school, which consequently faces the challenge of meeting the whole range of varying needs and conditions of students. Daily school practice is constituted by a number of communicative contexts, formal as well as informal. In these social and linguistic contexts, conversations are held about and with students. The dissertation, which focuses on students in need of support, is expected to contribute to the creation of knowledge about how communication and interaction constitute daily work and how this ultimately may be manifested in exclusion and inclusion processes during the upper secondary school education of the young. The research is directed at the organisation of the work of the upper secondary school as well as at students’ experience of and learning from their participation, communication in various contexts and their own learning.
The dissertation has its point of departure in the communicative relational perspective (KoRP), which is founded on socio-cultural theory formation. In addition, concepts from dramaturgy have been used as analytical tools for deepened analysis and interpretation of interaction. The study is ethnographic and longitudinal in its nature. During slightly more than three years of field work, eleven case study students have been followed on their journey through upper secondary school education.
The outcome indicates the complexity of the upper secondary school, where communication and actions in a number of communicative contexts not always have the expected effect. To formal contexts that shall have a precautionary and supportive function belong pupil welfare team meetings, transition conferences and class meetings. For the group of case study students, however, these turn out to have limited significance. Among other things, the study uncovers how work organisation, mediational tools and the interaction of participants may become obstacles. Further, waiting for support efforts as well as inadequate collaboration between various communicative contexts have negative consequences for students concerned. For students who prosper in spite of complicated schooling and life situation in general, the experience of participation in a community of friends has a prominent position, but above all participation in one’s own learning process appears to be a decisive factor. This calls for continuous talks and follow-ups, in which teachers and not least class teachers/mentors have a central role.