According to a study involving 1407 high school students, about 5% of students feel unsupported by their mother and peers, between 7 and 10% feel little support from their teachers and their father, and 8% believe that they do not fit in at school.
This lack of support and of a sense of belonging appears to have detrimental effects on the students: demotivation, feelings of inadequacy and lower grades throughout high school. Curiously, parental support seems largely unrelated to motivation and grades. How can this be explained? It may be because parents spend less time on the education of their children than teachers, who are equipped with the disciplinary, pedagogical and didactic skills to foster academic success in their students.
The development of positive peer relations is an important motivation during adolescence.
The results also show that certain students are more at risk of demotivation and lower academic success than others. This is particularly true for students who feel that they receive little support, not only from their teachers, but from their parents and peers as well. Furthermore, those students who claim to be supported by their parents and teachers but not by their peers are also at risk.
The development of positive peer relations is therefore an important motivation during adolescence. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that every student has friends at school to whom they can turn for support when facing difficulties or new challenges.
Frédéric Guay, Université Laval
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Deposit of the research report: April 2011