St-Amand J, Girard S, Smith J. (2017). Sense of belonging at school: Defining attributes, determinants, and sustaining strategies. The IAFOR Journal of Education. 5(2): 105-119
Building and sustaining students’ sense of belonging at school has been proposed by teachers and researchers as a means of stimulating students’ intent or desire to learn and of reducing student attrition. This article will present the results of an inquiry into the literature on belonging to support the perspective that is it necessary, not only to foster a strong sense of belonging, but also to place much greater emphasis on school belonging in educational programs, practices, and research. The aims of the paper are: (a) to review the theoretical literature on school belonging with an emphasis on its defining attributes and main determinants, (b) to review the measurement instruments of school belonging, and (c) to identify various strategies that may enhance school belonging. In light of the defining attributes identified, the authors propose six general recommendations for educational stakeholders wishing to build and sustain students’ sense of belonging at school.