How do you do? Kak dela?: experiences of Russian-speaking pupils in Helsinki schools

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Title: How do you do? Kak dela?: experiences of Russian-speaking pupils in Helsinki schools
Author: Ugbah, Natalja
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Policy
Date: 2009-09-07
Language: en
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: The research focuses on the experiences of 5th -9th-grade Russian-speaking pupils in Helsinki municipal schools. The aim of the research is to examine relation between children s subjective psychological well-being and their acculturation type and to investigate other factors, first and foremost social network and duration of stay in Finland, that influence psychological well-being of children. The study also aims to describe main problems Russian-speaking children face in schools, and the sources, from which children get help. It is a quantitative study, based on the data collected by questionnaire survey and analyzed by computer statistical program SPSS 14.0. The questionnaire survey was carried out by the researcher in autumn 2006 and the data was analyzed in 2007. The research was conducted with the permission of Helsinki Educational Board. Theoretical foundation for the research is provided by John Berry s two-dimensional acculturation model. According to the results of the research Russian-speaking children are satisfied with life in Finland and report to have high level of subjective well-being. Duration of staying in Finland has positive effect on the subjective well-being as well as good relations within family, especially with the mother. Subjective well-being is also influenced by the acculturation strategy that child selects: it is connected to the host culture national identity, like in assimilation and integration strategies, while marginalization strategy results in the high level of stress. Although Russians belong to the immigrant group, which is not physically visible in the society, the respondents do perceive national discrimination from peer pupils in schools. The survey shows that some of the teachers also contribute to this problem by not intervening into bullying or making themselves insulting comments about Russians. The national discrimination appears more often in schools with higher number of Russian-speaking pupils and it is perceived more by those children, who had lived longer in Finland. The research revealed one risk-group among Russian-speaking children a group of children, that has no-one in their surrounding, with whom they could share own problems. This group consists of one tenth of the respondents, mostly represented by boys, who select marginalization acculturation strategy. Their situation can lead to a high level of stress and depression as well as other psychological and mental problems.
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