05 SES 02 A, Tackling and Preventing Educational Disadvavtage
Parallel Paper Session
The correlation between low achievement at school and lower-status social class and childhood poverty has been well established internationally for over a century, yet competing explanations remain unresolved. This paper will review major explanatory accounts, exposing conceptual confusion and theoretical inconsistencies. It will identify the ideologies and perspectives at work. A key aim of the session will be to engage researchers from different European education systems in a discussion about dominant theories and their influence in their own countries.
Major historic debates involve concepts and theories which continue to resonate in professional and popular consciousness:
a) levels of 'ability' (rooted in notions of innate intelligence)
b) family and neighbourhood culture and language (in particular, Bernstein's concept of a 'restricted code')
c) aspirations and 'culture of poverty' (influenced by Oscar Lewis, Charles Murray, etc.)
d) differential school effectiveness (e.g. Teddlie andReynolds)
e) appropriateness of curriculum (e.g. Midwinter).
After critiquing these attempts to locate causal links inside or outside the school, with varying degrees of localism and fatalism / voluntarism, the discussion will focus on the interrelationships of school and family / community. This will draw on Bourdieu (capitals) and Goffman's institutionally-focused version of symbolic interactionism.
Key references include: Leacock, E. (1971) The culture of poverty: a critique. New York: Simon and Schuster Raffo, C. et al. eds (2010) Education and poverty in affluent countries. London: Routledge Rose, S., Kamin, L. and Lewontin, R. (1984) Not in our genes: biology, ideology and human nature. Harmondsworth: Penguin Rosen, H. (1972) Language and class: a critical look at the theories of Basil Bernstein. Bristol: Falling Wall Press Smyth, J., Down, B. and McInerney, P. (2010) ‘Hanging in with Kids’ in tough times: engagement in contexts of educational disadvantage in the relational school. New York: Peter Lang
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