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J Youth Adolesc. 2018 Jun;47(6):1279-1298. doi: 10.1007/s10964-018-0831-8. Epub 2018 Mar 3.

Profiles of Adolescents' Perceptions of Democratic Classroom Climate and Students' Influence: The Effect of School and Community Contexts.

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Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Room 217, Runme Shaw Building, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong.
National Institutes on Education and the Economy, East China Normal University, Zhongshan North Road 3663, Shanghai, China.
Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.


Students' learning experiences and outcomes are shaped by school and classroom contexts. Many studies have shown how an open, democratic classroom climate relates to learning in the citizenship domain and helps nurture active and engaged citizens. However, little research has been undertaken to look at how such a favorable classroom climate may work together with broader school factors. The current study examines data from 14,292 Nordic eighth graders (51% female) who had participated in the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study in 2009, as well as contextual data from 5,657 teachers and 618 principals. Latent class analysis identifies profiles of students' perceptions of school context, which are further examined with respect to the contextual correlates at the school level using two-level fixed effects multinomial regression analyses. Five distinct student profiles are identified and labeled "alienated", "indifferent", "activist", "debater", and "communitarian". Compared to indifferent students, debaters and activists appear more frequently at schools with relatively few social problems; being in the communitarian group is associated with aspects of the wider community. Furthermore, being in one of these three groups (and not in the indifferent group) is more likely when teachers act as role models by engaging in school governance. The results are discussed within the framework of ecological assets and developmental niches for emergent participatory citizenship. The implications are that adults at school could enhance multiple contexts that shape adolescents' developmental niches to nurture active and informed citizens for democracies.


Classroom climate; Developmental niche; Efficacy at school; Person-centered analysis; Student voice; Youth civic engagement

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