From the Classroom to the Community: Peer Relationships in an Ecological Context

Aaron Leo 1 * , Kristen Wilcox 2, Jessie Tobin 2

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp. 74-98

OPEN ACCESS   1523 Views   998 Downloads

Download Full Text (PDF)


Previous scholarship has identified factors that can influence peer relationships at the classroom level, while others have noted how school-level characteristics and practices can impact the interactions among young people. Little scholarship, however, has addressed the connections between these school systems as well as to the wider community. Moreover, few studies have offered a qualitative analysis of peer relationships in varied settings. To address this gap, this study draws on data gathered among educators and students from two secondary schools in New York State to better understand the various influences on peer relationships. In this analysis, we draw on social-ecological theory to demonstrate how elements from the various systems in which youth participate impact peer relationships in these schools. Our contribution offers practical value for educators and policymakers seeking to improve relationships among youth while providing a qualitative contribution to a topic that has largely been examined through quantitative analysis.

Keywords: adolescents, teachers, mentoring, extracurricular, Bronfenbrenner.