n Journal of Educational Studies - Understanding the dynamics in a dysfunctional school through a university - community participatory action research

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



While some studies suggest that there are numerous factors including community stakeholders that have an effect on learners' academic achievement at a school, researchers generally lack consensus on what constitutes school dysfunctionality and effectiveness. The main aim of this study was to find out what the stakeholders in a dysfunctional school thought they should do to move away from the state of dysfunctionality to functionality. A participatory action research strategy was employed to investigate the dynamics in dysfunctional schools through university-community partnership processes. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus group interviews with stakeholders. The results confirmed that the approaches needed to facilitate the improvement in school should be multi-pronged and comprehensive in nature taking into consideration the sensitivity, complexity and the interdependence of issues at community level that are both contextual and historical. The process is as important as the outcomes and care need to be placed in navigating the dynamics, defining boundaries and clarifying roles of engaging, researching, acting and reflecting. The article link the role of university community partnership and participatory action research with improving school effectiveness.

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