05 SES 11 A, Urban Education & Children and Youth at Risk
Parallel Paper Session
Objectives and Purpose
Many immigrant children are not familiar with the host country’s school system before they start school. In a study that focused on immigrant children’s adjustment to school culture, we asked a small group of grade 6 children, all new immigrants to Canada, to develop a series of comic-like booklets in the form of fotonovelas that could help new children to find their way around the school. Based on their experiences as newcomers, the children identified the lunchtime routine as among the most confusing for a new student and decided to develop a fotonovela about this routine. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the process of developing the Lunchtime fotonovela and analyze its content in an attempt to raise critical questions about school rules and their role in both controlling children’s behavior and creating space for resistance.
Historically, schools have been required to produce a citizenry strongly bonded to the state and its interests (Osborn, 1996; Sears, 1997; Ungerleider, 1992). As institutions, schools are organized by sets of rules, incentives, and so forth that are produced by a legitimate authority and that aim to secure a “system of organized actions and interactions of actors who recognize the given authority” (Dupriez & Maroy, 2003, p. 387). For many children school is their first encounter with regulation both as a structure (i.e., the various forms of institutional coordination) and as a process (i.e., how “the rules of the game” are constructed) (Dupriez & Maroy, 2003). These experiences may be confusing because although school is “a locus of discipline, control and power,” some manifestations of these are more obvious and clear cut than others (Simpson, 2000). In addition, there is a fundamental conflict between the formal or official curriculum taught through lectures, texts, and tests and the informal or hidden curriculum taught through school rules, punishments, procedures, and norms (Schimmel, 2003).
In the study presented here we asked: How do immigrant children make sense of these conflicting laws? How do they understand, interpret, and comply with them or resist them? How do immigrant children’s understandings of the routines of the use of school space depending on the time of the day and patterns and norms of correctness become part of their multiple identities? In addressing these general questions we examine the lunchtime routine as an example of immigrant children’s understandings of the purpose and use of the physical school space during lunch, the school’s enforcement of time, the school norms of correctness related to eating, and the rules about eating junk food. In our analysis of children’s understandings of school structure, we are informed by a theory of power (Giddens, 1984; Foucault, 1979) as it addresses the structure of adult-child relationships in institutional contexts such as schools. Based on Foucault’s (1977) concept of the necessity of “docility-utility,” we discuss the overarching goal of the curriculum as being to order the spatial and temporal lives of children.
Berman H., Ford-Gilboe M., Moutrey B., & Cekic S. (2001) Portraits of pain and promise: A photographic study of Bosnian youth. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 32(4) 21-41. Conrad, D. (2004). Exploring risky youth experiences: Popular theatre as a participatory, performative research method. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(1). Retrieved April 6, 2005, from: http://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm/backissues/3_1/pdf/conrad.pdf Dupriez, V., & Maroy, C. (2003 ). Regulation in school system: A theoretical analysis of the structural framework of the school system in French-speaking Belgium. Journal of Education Policy, 18(4), 375-392. Ells, H. (2001). Talking pictures in working school lunches: Investigating food choice with children and adolescents. British Food Journal, 103(6), 374-382. Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Harmondsworth, UK: Peregrine. Giddens, A. (1976). New rules of sociological method: A positive critique of interpretative sociologies. London: Macmillan. Giddens, A. (1984). The construction of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Osborn, K. (1996). Education is the best national insurance: Citizenship education in Canadian schools—Past and present. Comparative and International Education, 25 (2), 31-58. Reed, J.L. (1998). The fotonovela. Camerawork: A Journal of Photographic Arts, 25(2), 4-5. Sears, A. (1997). Instruments of policy: How the national state influences citizenship education in Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 29(2), 1-21. Schimmel, D. (2003). Collaborative rule-making and citizenship education: An antidote to the undemocratic hidden curriculum. American Secondary Education, 31(3), 16-35. Simpson, B. (2000). Regulation and resistance: Children’s embodiment during the primary-secondary school transition. In A. Prout (Ed.), The body, childhood, and society (pp. 60-77). London: Macmillan. Undeleider, C. (1992). Immigration, multiculturalism and citizenship: The development of the Canadian social justice infrastructure. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 24(3), 7-22.
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