The current study focused on the experiences of adolescent dropouts and their treatment staff in a unique school setting, the Mifneh School in Jerusalem. This school succeeds in generating a turnaround in the lives of about 86% of its students who, after one year of study in this setting, return to normative schools or both to school and work settings in the community. The basic assumption underlying this study was that this school's unique and psychotherapeutic components would enable adolescent dropouts to overcome negative events and experiences in their lives; to cope with their mental injuries, thought patterns, and behaviors; and to instigate a positive turnaround in their lives.Data collection integrated two central traditions in qualitative research:the ethnographic approach and the phenomenological approach.The data was collected between 1997-2002 and included participant-observation and in-depth interviews.The findings clearly pinpointed the change that these Mifneh students underwent as well as the school's psychotherapeutic components.This study contributes to narrowing the gap in the literature concerning adolescents who drop out of educational settings. It emphasizes the uniqueness of the youngsters' experiences and highlights the components of the therapeutic-educational environment that facilitate a turnaround in their lives. The study holds practical implications because it furnishes a broad view of the attitudes, needs, concerns, and hopes not only of the youngsters who dropped out of school but also of the professional staff attempting to treat and teach them. The current outcomes may assist in designing additional treatment settings for adolescent dropouts and may even guide professional supervision of the staff members involved with these youth both at the therapeutic level and at the educational-preventative level.
|Keywords:||Adolescent School Dropouts, Psychotherapeutic Components|
The David Yellin College of Education, Israel
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