Who am I? A qualitative systematic review study on the role of school in adolescents’ identity development
Paper presentation on PhD Day
1:30 PM, Monday 28 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Arguably, developing an identity has become an increasingly challenging task due to recent individualization processes in many contemporary societies (Beck et al., 1994). Since adolescents spend much of their time in school, in this qualitative systematic review we identify ways in which educational actors can support adolescents’ identity development. This qualitative systematic review aims to provide an overview and analysis of existing research and theories on the ways in which education may influence the identity development of adolescents. Building forth on Penuel and Wertsch (1995), and on Vianna and Stetsenko (2011), we attempt to combine sociocultural theory and developmental stage theory to analyze the impact of educational processes and mechanisms on how adolescents explore, express and negotiate who they are. Based on a systematic collection and analysis of approximately a hundred peer-reviewed papers, we first of all find a variety of educational processes and mechanisms that unintendedly play a role in adolescents’ identity formation. Examples can be found in grouping policies, school interior, classroom interactions and educational discourses more generally. Secondly, we find that the intended organization of explorative learning experiences helps adolescents to develop their identity. These are learning experiences that either allow adolescents to further explore their already present self-understandings, or enable adolescents to discover and appropriate new identifications. At the ISCAR 2017 Congress, we hope to present these findings, and to invite the audience to explore with us how identity as conceptualized in CHAT identity theories could best be operationalized in future empirical studies.