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Psychosocial learning environments and the mediating effect of personal meaning upon satisfaction with education

  • Author(s): Smith, Prapanna Randall
  • et al.
Abstract

A mixed methods study was conducted to investigate the relationships between psychosocial learning environments and student satisfaction with their education as mediated by Agentic Personal Meaning. The interdisciplinary approach of the study integrated the fields of Learning Environment Research (LER), Existential Meaning Research (EMR), and Positive Psychology Research (PPR). A review of the literature within each field is provided. The mixed methods study included a quantitative phase in which a postulated model was tested using structural equation modeling to determine goodness-to-fit with data obtained from secondary and college level students in two progressive private schools in India. Findings indicate that the learning environment variables, Teacher Support, Task Orientation, Cooperation, Student Cohesiveness, Involvement, and Equity were significantly correlated with student Satisfaction with Education and with Agentic Personal Meaning. Findings also provide evidence that existential meaning and life-purpose mediates the relationships between the psychosocial learning environment variables, Teacher Support, Task Orientation, and Cooperation, and the outcome variable, student Satisfaction with Education. A qualitative phase explored through focus group interviews of school leaders and teachers how they foster meaning and purpose in the lives of their students. The data indicated that deep interpersonal relationships between students and teachers, freedom and opportunities for students to explore their interests through a wide variety of co-curricular activities, and an intention among teachers to expressly inspire students to become conscious, all taking place within a strong community context, serves to promote the development of meaning and purpose in the lives of students

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