04 SES 11 B, On the Quality of Inclusion: dimensions of well-being of students with special educational needs
The idea of expectations acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy was first introduced by Rosenthal (1974) who argued that expectations teachers held for children’s academic achievement boosts the child’s motivation and expectations which leads to higher school achievement (Rosenthal 1974). Dumais (2006) developed these arguments in relation to parental expectations by examining how students’ own understanding of their parents’ expectations was the internalisation of a social structure that ‘forms one’s world view and serves as a guide throughout an individual’s life’ (Dumais, 2006, p.85). However, much of the focus has been on research findings which show how parents of children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from minority racial or ethnic groups tend to hold lower educational expectations regardless of the child’s actual ability in school (Alexander et al., 1994; Trusty, 2000; Goldenberg et al., 2001a, 2001b). This paper examines the extent to which parental expectations and child disability status at age 9 have consequences for children’s academic and social (self-concept and school engagement) well-being at age 13. In this, we make use of the longitudinal nature of the Growing Up in Ireland study (with data at 9 and 13 years of age for one-in-eight Irish children). Our conceptual framework assumes that parental expectations at age 9 will be influenced by both the child’s disability and child’s academic achievement at that stage, as well as being influenced by other factors such as parent’s own education, family economic vulnerability and family structure. Therefore, it is important to take these factors into account in tracing the consequences of parental expectations at age 9 on academic and social outcomes at age 13. The results show that parental expectations play an important role for children’s educational and social development. Parents have lower expectations for children with general learning/intellectual, specific learning and emotional/behavioural disabilities - their expectations for their children’s future education lag behind their children’s actual performance. These lowered expectations partly explain poorer social and educational development among these young people. It seems that the disability ‘label’ has a range of negative implications. However, there is no expectation gap in the case of children with physical or sensory difficulties. The findings highlight the importance of information and guidance for all young people and their parents on the range of opportunities available, the importance of promoting positive expectations and engagement with school and the importance of promoting a range of opportunities for achievement in the broadest sense.
Alexander, K.L., D.R. Entwisle, & S.D. Bedinger (1994). When expectations work: Race and socioeconomic differences in school performance. Social Psychology Quarterly, 57, 283–99. Dumais, S.A. (2006). Early childhood cultural capital, parental habitus, and teachers’ perceptions. Poetics, 34(2), 83–107. Goldenberg, C., R. Gallimore, L. Reese, & H. Garnier (2001a). Cause or effect? A longitudinal study of immigrant Latino parents' aspirations and expectations, and their children's school performance. American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 547–82. Goldenberg, C., R. Gallimore, L. Reese, & H. Garnier (2001b). Cause or effect? A longitudinal study of Parental Expectations - 10 immigrant Latino parents’ aspirations and expectations, and their children’s school performance. American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 547-82. Rosenthal, R. (1974). On the social psychology of the self-fulfilling prophecy: Further evidence of the Pygmalion effects and their mediating mechanisms. New York: MSS Modular Publications. Trusty, J. (2000). High educational expectations and low achievement: stability of educational goals across adolescence. The Journal of Educational Research, 93, 356-65.
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