Educational trajectories and drafts for the future of students of international profiled schools in the region of Greater Lisbon
European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Universität Hamburg
After 2000 the field of international profiled schools in Portugal, and especially in the area of Greater Lisbon, has grown and diversified (see Schippling & Abrantes, 2018). International education in Portugal has a long tradition with Portuguese national elites (Vieira, 2003; Louçã et al., 2014), but through the growing influence of transnational educational organizations as the International Baccalaureate®(IB) and the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), this educational field becomes more heterogeneous. The diversification of this educational field can also be explained by transformations in the school population. In addition to a “global middle class” (Ball & Nikita, 2014: 82), non-mobile middle-class families are showing a growing interest in these schools. Despite the development of international profiled schools in Portugal, there are but few empirical studies on this field (e.g., Macedo, 2009; Macedo & Araújo, 2016; Louçã et al., 2014; Schippling & Abrantes, 2018), especially studies that take into consideration a micro perspective (school actors) (Lauder, 2015; Schippling, 2018). For example, this is still a research question: “[...] how international students conceptualize their rights and obligations as global citizens?” (Lauder 2015: 179). This contribution takes on a micro perspective, namely the educational trajectories and related drafts for the academic/professional future of the students between the 10th and the 12th school year in three international schools in the area of Greater Lisbon.(1) The focus lies on their discursive constructions regarding "being international" and how these constructions are related to their drafts for the future. From a theoretical perspective, the study carries out a critical research on elite (e.g., Bourdieu, 1989; Hartmann, 2004). The constructions of the school members are conceived as elements of the school identity, which is understood as a heuristic category (e.g., Draelants & Dumay, 2011). The study also refers to concepts of transnationalisation research, which have been developed in the context of school research: e.g., the concept of “transnational spaces of education” (Adick, 2005; Hayden, 2011) and “transnational/cosmopolitan capital” (Kenway & Koh, 2013; Keßler & Schippling, 2019). In conclusion, the study provides new insights on elite formation and on the importance of the inter/transnationalisation dimension in Portugal with a special focus on the perspective of the school actors: in this case the students’ educational trajectories and future plans. It also opens up comparative dimensions regarding research on school actors in international profiled schools in Germany. (1) This contribution is based on two research projects, namely “The internationalisation of the elite formation in Portugal. A qualitative study on international schools in Greater Lisbon” and “Learning to be a global citizen? Theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches“ (CIES-IUL, Lisbon; Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg; University of Göttingen) and which are funded by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Method In total, the study is based on a qualitative empirical methodology, in which reactive methods (semi-directive interviews with school boards, focus groups with students and teachers) and non-reactive methods [analysis of self-representation school documents (printed documents, websites), participant observation of school culture-related events] are triangulated. The analysis of this data is carried out using the documentary interpretation method (e.g., Bohnsack, 2010; Nohl, 2012). Weblogs and forums related to students and alumni from international schools exchanging experiences about their educational trajectories will be also analysed by using an “ethnography at a distance” approach (Forsey et al., 2015). This contribution presents the results of an analysis of the focus groups with the students of three contrasting international profiled schools in the region of Greater Lisbon and also the results of the analysis of the weblogs and forums regarding the educational trajectories and future plans of international students. Expected Outcomes The study of international profiled schools in Greater Lisbon firstly reacts to a research desideratum related to international schools in a global perspective, and especially in Portugal, where these schools are mainly part of the private and exclusive education sector. In this context, it also reveals the mechanisms of social reproduction of elites in Portugal by focusing on the dimension of inter/transnationality. Secondly, the study responds to a lack of qualitative research on the educational and professional trajectories and orientations of students from international profiled schools. As a matter of fact, up to now there are no such studies in Portugal. Thirdly, the study opens up comparative perspectives to international profiled schools and the trajectories of school actors in other European countries. In conclusion, this contribution tackles with the issue of Portugal’s integration into the European and global economy and educational market, focusing on elite education and the dimension of inter/transnationality. In this way, it also promotes an understanding of the reconfiguration processes of capitalism within the context of globalisation. References Adick, C. (2005). Transnationalisierung als Herausforderung für die International und Interkulturell Vergleichende Erziehungswissenschaft. Tertium Comparationis. 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