07 SES 16 A, Cultures of Schooling and Educational (In-)Equity. Comparative Perspectives from Germany, Norway and the USA
Although US and German school systems claim to provide equal chances for every student (Baker, 2014), studies underline that inequalities relating to social, racial and cultural distinctions persist (e.g., Diehm et al., 2013, Lynn & Dixson, 2013). However, comparative qualitative research on how differences are constructed and reproduced in schools is scarce. The objective of this contribution is to analyze how racial distinctions and inequalities are negotiated interactively in German and US schools. In our study, we compare schools’ concepts of diversity and their practices of constructing and handling (ethnic) belonging in both countries. We assume that schools are places of negotiating belonging (Caldas & Bankston, 2007; Helsper, 2008) and creating experiences of inclusion and exclusion. To achieve a deeper understanding of how racial and ethnic inequalities are (re-)produced in different locations, we conducted in-depth-analyses of school cultures and classroom interactions. The study design is a qualitative multi-level-analyses (Bray & Thomas 1995), including analyses of documents (legal texts of schooling, school programs, homepages), interviews with teachers and principals and ethnographic writings of classroom observations. The data material is analyzed with qualitative methods, which aim to identify the interconnectedness of social levels. We will present two case studies of classroom interaction, one located in a Pennsylvanian school, one in Schleswig-Holstein, in which racism is (not) addressed. In the US-school, an English class reads the book “All American Boys”, and the teacher makes the students reflect on racial power-relations and privileges. This practice reflects the school’s choice to deal with the subject of racism that has become more visible among students during the 2016 presidential election campaign. In the example from Germany, students read out their arguments regarding the accommodation of refugees in their homes (a topic which relates to the migration movements in summer 2015). The teacher’s reaction towards the students’ statements ignores its racist implications and therefore tends to reinforce racist stereotypes. The cases exemplify different practices of referring to racism, which point to distinct cultures of handling diversity and (racist) discrimination: Whereas in the US, there is a tradition of antidiscrimination which frames institutionalized measures and professional activities, the lack of this in Germany results in individualized ways of teachers ‘coping with’ diversity and discriminatory practices. Yet, in both examples it becomes obvious that the pedagogical setting is deeply shaped by power relations between teacher and students, which limit the possibilities of negotiating belonging and learning about racism.
Baker, D. P. (2014): The Schooled Society. Stanford, CA: University Press. Bray, M. & Thomas, M. R. (1995). Levels of Comparison in Educational Studies. Different Insights from Different Literatures and the Value of Multilevel Analyses. Harvard Education University Publishing, 65(3), 472-491. Caldas, S. J. & Bankston, C. L. (2007). Forced to Fail. The Paradox of School Segregation. Ranham: Roman and Littlefield. Diehm, I., Kuhn, M., Machold, C., & Mai, M. (2013). Ethnische Differenz und Ungleichheit. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 59(5), 644-656. Helsper, W. (2008). Schulkulturen - die Schule als symbolische Sinnordnung. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik 54 (1), 63-80 Hummrich, M. & Terstegen, S. (2018). Qualitative Mehrebenenanalyse und Kulturvergleich. In M. Menz & C. Thon (Eds.), Kindheiten zwischen Familie und Elementarbereich (pp. 205-223). Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag. Lynn, M. & Dixon, A. D. (2013). Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. New York, NY: Routledge. Noguera, P. A. (2016). Race, Education, and the Pursuit of Equity in the Twenty-First Century. In P. A. Noguera, J. C. Pierce, & R. Ahram, (Eds.), Race, Equity, and Education. Sixty Years from Brown (pp. 3-27). Heidelberg et al.: Springer International.
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