Boy's School Connectedness – An Australian Perspective: The impact of social capital on school connectedness of year 10 Muslim male students of Lebanese background

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses – 2014 Archive

This page is no longer updated. Page archived on Thu, 14 Jul 2016

Rosaria Cantali

PhD thesis, conferred 2014

This thesis explores the school connectedness of Muslim adolescent male students of Lebanese background in a selection of New South Wales schools. It provides a better understanding of the issues that affect the school connectedness of Muslim males of Lebanese background in Australian schools through redefinition of this concept in terms of social capital relational networks.

The thesis investigates how the quality of the three relational dimensions of social capital theory—bonding, bridging and linking (Putnam, 2000)—inform the school connectedness of Muslim adolescent male students of Lebanese background, namely those between students and (i) their parents (bonding social capital), (ii) peers (bridging social capital) and (iii) teachers and community members (linking social capital).

Research was qualitative and employed a case study approach (Thomas, 2010). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with students, parents, teachers and community members to examine how students’ relationships with these individuals contributed to their beliefs surrounding students’ school connectedness. The sample was drawn from a population of Muslim males of Lebanese background (n=22), their parents (n=19) and associated teachers (n=10) and community members (n=3) in New South Wales Government and private Islamic high schools.

The findings offer a new perspective that furthers the theoretical understanding of school connectedness and its development, culminating in the creation of a new developmental model, the Social Capital School Connectedness model (SCSC model), formed with consideration of the underlying social capital research. This model offers a grounded framework to comprehend how relational factors such as parent attitudes can exert influence on students. It also clarifies how differential school connectedness outcomes arise in students from this ethnic and cultural background.

Based on these research findings, implications for policy and practice in interventions to enable positive relationships between parents, students, school and community are addressed.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Nigel Bagnall