Adolescent Friendships and School Experiences: Perspectives of African Nova Scotian Youth

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Paris-Bonenfant, Karrela
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Mount Saint Vincent University
In research exploring adolescent friendship, relatively little study has focused on Black youths’ friendship patterns or, more specifically, the role that these relationships have in their everyday experiences as students within their respective school environments. Understanding the interpersonal peer attachments of Black youth, as they exist within their daily school lives, provides valuable insight into the role that such relationships may play in, among other areas, the social competencies and academic performance of Black learners. The present exploratory study obtained the perspectives of African Nova Scotian adolescents related to the role that friendships play in their daily school experiences by utilizing qualitative methodology and approaches. Focus groups (one with males, one with females, and one mixed gender) and three individual interviews were held with adolescent Black learners, accessed through the Black Educators Association (BEA), an organization committed to the equitable education of Black learners and a major resource to students, parents, educators, and other members of the community. All interviewed students were enrolled at various area junior high schools (grades 7- 9) within the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. Transcribed interviews (data) from these discussion sessions were systematically analysed employing discovery-based, cross-comparative data analysis commonly associated with grounded theory methodology. Results of the analysis were organized by four major descriptive categories namely. Friendship Formation and Development, Friendship Quality and Function, Friendship Maintenance, and Friendship Enhancement/Support. Findings of the research provided enhanced understanding of the nature and meaning of friendship relationships within the school experiences of adolescent Black learners and provided for recommendations to support the development, maintenance, and enhancement of such critical relational attachments.
Black Educators Association (BEA) , School Experiences , Black youths’ friendship , African Nova Scotian adolescents