Problem Statement:The phenomenon of justice, which is defined as conformity to what is right and legal, is conceptualized into three aspects: distributive justice, procedural justice and interactional justice in educational organizations. The more students perceive their learning environment to be fair, the more they enjoy their school life. Otherwise, they experience dissatisfaction and alienation. Having such components as powerlessness, normlessness, isolation, and meaninglessness, the concept of alienation refers to a situation where the student is indifferent to the place he is in, i.e. the school.
Considering that all educational activities mainly aim to intentionally change learner behaviors, it is apparent that any negative attitudes like a feeling of alienation towards the school will considerably obstruct the educational organizations’ ability to achieve their goals. Therefore, it is important for schools to identify the school-related factors underlying the students’ feelings of alienation at the school and to alleviate their adverse effects. Some of the factors causing the feeling of alienation stem directly from the procedures in educational organizations. It is believed that the perception of fairness regarding the learning environment is one of the factors.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study was to determine the students’ level of alienation and to investigate the relationship between their levels of alienation and their perceptions of a fair learning environment.
Methods: This survey study was conducted on 952 student teachers, of whom 509 were female and 443 were male. The researcher investigated both the correlation between students’ perceptions of a fair learning environment and the actual, experienced alienation, and whether these variables differ significantly in terms of gender, type of program, grade and time of program. The data were collected using the “Personal Information Form,” the “Fair Learning Environment Questionnaire” and the “Student Alienation Scale.”
Finding and Results: Results indicated that students’ perceptions of fairness and their level of alienation differ significantly in terms of gender, type of program, grade and time of program. Perception of fairness is a significant predictor of their feelings of alienation.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Based on the research findings, it can be suggested that creating a fairer learning environment may decrease the feeling of experienced alienation. Involving students in administrative decisions, arranging events to increase student-faculty interaction, as well as extensively using objective measurement and evaluation procedures may improve students’ perceptions of fairness regarding the learning environment. Improving students’ perceptions of fairness can be said to have a positive impact on their feelings about school.
Keywords: Higher education, learning environment, fairness, alienation