ERG SES F 08, Parallel Session F 08
The swiss educational system is currently experiencing major transformations. The strong resistance against the concordat HarmoS (harmonization of cantonal systems) and many debates around the role of the educational institution (how to "deal” with school failure, a school becoming more and more multicultural) are indicative of the concerns and frictions facing the school today. More generally, these controversies are part of a society more and more committed in a race to "performance" (Erhenberg 1991), to efficiency and to competitiveness, in economics or at school, alike international comparative studies PISA.
Taking into account the context of transformation of swiss educational politics, two doctoral researches with two different methodological approaches are interested in a common theme: the ambivalent relation between two instances of socialization (school and families) at a specific moment: kindergarten.
In a school context in change, what are the representations and expectations of parents and teachers about the learning that must be developed in kindergarten in a context of cultural diversity?
The efforts of the education system in Switzerland aims to a harmonization of the 26 school systems in a single one. This is an answer to a new paragraph in the Swiss federal constitution. Indeed, the French-speaking cantons have developed a new curriculum which teachers must orient their programs at. In kindergarten, for example, knowledge to develop is more precise and more numerous than before. Another major change is the introduction for several cantons of an extra year of kindergarten. Now children have to begin school at an age of 4 and not 5 any more. This change has provoked a heated debate between parents, teachers and politicians. They expressed their understanding and expectations of the role of kindergarten and the knowledge that should be acquired there. This first exploratory part presents a “macro” picture of learning - cognitive, emotional, social, academic habits and physical development - defined by the curriculum and their importance as perceived by teachers and parents.
These changes require adjustments or “acculturation” to the families, in particular for families whose cultural references are remote from “school evidences” (popular and/or migrant families). The adjustments of the families are also in interaction with those of the teachers in their efforts with the familial reality of its pupils. The second exploratory part focuses more specifically on how relations (negotiation, collaboration) are built between teachers and migrant families. What are the perceptions of teachers towards these children and their families? What are the self- and hetero-categorizations mobilized by teachers and families? Thereby our level of analysis is distinguished from our scale of observation. We would like to favor « a thorough analysis of particular to analyze the general» (traduction, Durkheim 1975). Our approach relies on daily practice and discourse of teachers and families; we analyze micro process and the more general level.
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