07 SES 05 A, Intercultural Encounters in Education
This study investigates the impact of 'irregular school transitions' upon friendship orientations and educational attainment of military children. Irregular transition is understood as joining or leaving a school outside normal entry and exit points. This is now a major educational issue in Britain (Dobson, & Pooley, 2004; Machin, Telhaj & Wilson, 2006), and other countries including the United States (GAO, 1994) and New Zealand (Lauder et al, 1994). It is now a feature of so many children’s educational experiences; research suggests over 40% of students move schools aged between 9 and 14 (UK Key stages 3 and 4) (Goldstein Burgess & McConnell. 2007). A number of large scale quantitative studies have identified an academic penalty for these students (Simmons et al., 1987, see also Coleman, 1990). This has been explained by the breakdown in social capital between the student’s family, school and community (Coleman, 1988; Hagan et al., 1999). Theories of social capital have since been developed to consider social factors, concerns and conditions that can be seen to mediate students’ responses to school transitions, particularly in relation to processes of inclusion, exclusion and motivation (Brown, 2012). When a child starts a new school s/he must learn to navigate competing cultural expectations, pedagogies, ‘norms’ and performances from the institution, teachers, parents and peer groups which may include adapting to pedagogical shifts between expressive and instrumental cultures of schooling (Power et al., 1998). This is especially important to consider with respect to the children of military families.
There is little research into irregular school transitions in military families in the UK. Some studies in the USA (e.g., Park, 2011, see also Lowe et al, 2012) and UK (Lovett, Tissot & Francis-Brophy, 2011) have provided evidence suggesting irregular transitions may have a negative impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of children and families. However there is less evidence highlighting effects on educational attainment of military children. A small body of research suggests that frequency and timing of transition can have negative effects on education (Department for Education [DfE], 2010; Lovett et al, 2011; Ofsted, 2011;). Although some research suggests an overall positive picture of attainment (NFER, 2007, see also DfE, 2010), such evidence is tentative because of difficulties associated with tracking military children, as they can face up to fourteen moves by the time they enter secondary school. (Ministry of Defence [MoD] 2011; NFER, 2008; Ofsted, 2011).
Investigating the impact of ‘irregular school transitions’ upon friendships and educational attainment will provide insight on friendship related challenges military children face and the impact upon their educational outcomes providing information to develop interventions and policy to improve children’s lives. Studying NATO forces families provides a rich opportunity to gain insight from a cross cultural perspective and is not limited to military families. It has relevance to all mobile groups (traveller families, migrant children, children in care) having international significance.
- What are the impacts of educational transition upon the friendship orientations and educational attainment of military children?
- How can children’s friendship-related responses to transition help us better understand the impact on educational attainment?
- Do key familial variables (attachment security, familial boundary dissolution, familial conflict) buffer the impacts of transition upon (a)friendship orientations (b) educational attainment and (c) how, if such moderation is evident, does it appear to work?
Brown, C. (2012). Exploring how Social Capital Works for Children who have Experienced School Turbulence. What is the Role of Friendship and Trust for Children in Poverty? International Studies in Sociology of Education, 22(3), 213-236 Coleman, J. (1988). 'Social Capital and the Creation of Human Capital', American Journal of Sociology, 94 95-120. Coleman, J. S (1990). Equality and Achievement in Education. Boulder, CO: Westfield Press. DfE. (2010). The Educational Performance of Children of Service Personnel. London:DfE. Dobson, J., and E. Pooley. (2004). Mobility, Equality and Diversity: A study of pupil mobility in the secondary school system. London: UCL, Migration Research Unit GAO. General Accounting Office (1994). Elementary School Children: Many Change Schools Frequently Harming Their Education. Report to the Honourable Marcy Kaptur, House of Representatives, Feburary, Washington DC Goldstein, H., S. Burgess, and B. McConnell. (2007). Modelling the effect of pupil mobility on school differences in educational achievement. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 170(4), 941–54. Lauder, H., Hughes, D., Waslander, S., Thrupp, M., McGlinn, J., Netwon, S. and Dupuis. (1994). The Creation for Market Competition in New Zealand. Wellington, Ministry of Education Lovett, G., Tissot, C. & Francis-Brophy E. (2011). Supporting Educational Transitions: Exploring the specific needs of Service children and their families. University of Reading: Manuscript in preparation. Lowe, K., Adams, K., Browne, B. & Hinkle, K. (2012). Impact of military deployment on family relationships, Journal of Family Studies, 18(1), 17-27. Machin, S, Telhaj, S, Wilson, J. (2006). The Mobility of English School Children. London:Centre for the Economics of Education. Park, N. (2011). Military children and families: Strengths and challenges during peace and war American Psychologist, 66(1), 65-72. MoD, (2010, 2011, 2012) Tri Service Families Survey Continuations Attitude Surveys available from Gov.Uk https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tri-service-families-survey-continuous-attitude-survey-famcas NFER. (2007, 2008). Service Children’s Education: Survey of Parental Views (Final Report). NFER. Ofsted. (2011). Children in Service families: The quality and impact of partnership provision for children in Service families. London:Ofsted. Power, S., Whitty, G., Edwards, T. & Wigfall, V. 1998). Schools Families and Academic Able Students: contrasting modes of involvement in secondary education. British journal of Sociology of Education. 19(2), 157-176. Simmons, R., Burgeson, R., Carlton-Ford, S, Blythe, D. (1987). The Impact of Cumulative Change in Early Adolescence, Child Development, 58(5) 1220 34.
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