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Subcultures in a middle school?

13 December 1994


Student behaviors are strongly influenced by the values to which they subscribe. Educators must have a clear understanding of these values if they expect effective communication and meaningful learning experiences to transpire in school. This research project focuses on the specific values held by sixth, seventh and eighth grade students; and whether or not these values constitute a subculture. Edgar Schein provides the conceptual framework for the analysis of the data collected. His view of culture forms the foundation upon which a subculture will be assessed. Schein defines culture as a "deep phenomenon" that becomes taken-for-granted with regard to the ways in which we perceive, think and feel. Based on interviews with groups from each of the grade levels, it becomes clear that student values and beliefs are in a state of flux and much change. The values expressed by these groups were often underdeveloped, inconsistent and conflicting. It has been concluded that due to these characteristics; the existence of a student subculture in the middle school environment cannot be proved.


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