Fighting disadvantage as cultural colonization. A critical analysis of the English discourse on Early Years Education, Social Class and Achievement
1Middlesex University, United Kingdom; 2University of Suffolk, United Kingdom
This presentation discusses the results of a sociological analysis concerned with the hegemonic discourse on the relationship between educational achievement and social class which permeates the debate about Early Years Education in England.
Since the landmark report Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (2003), mainstream pedagogical research in England has recognised Early Years Education as a resource to counter socio‐economic disadvantage from the early years of life, narrowing the gap in educational achievement. This claim underpins legislation (Every Child Matters 2003, Children Act 2004, Early Years Foundation Stage 2008/2012, Children and Family Act 2014) and was recently renewed by a report commissioned by OFSTED (2014).
This presentation argues that the conceptual framework of mainstream research and legislation relies on the distinction ‘advantaged/disadvantaged’, borrowed from psychological theories on child’s development (for a review see Bjorklund and Pellegrini, 2000). Such distinction supports a ‘deficit approach’: children from low Socio-Economic Status (SES) are in a position of disadvantage when entering primary education due to deficit in their socialization (Johnson&Kossykh, 2008). The ideology and cultural capital underpinning educational curricula is unchallenged, while the cultural capital of children from low SES is transformed into a deficit to be narrowed, a problem to be solved.
In the conclusion, the valorisation of diverse knowledges and values in School activities is argues as alternative to cultural assimilation, solving the aporia of inclusion of low SES children in education based on their marginalisation a deficit group. In particular, the possibility of a paradigm shift, from ‘filling the gap’ to ‘building on diversity’ is connected to child-initiated pedagogies, where low SES children are conceptualized as active contributors rather than disadvantaged object of educational programmes.
Parenting and School Performance in Disadvantaged Subregions of Hungary
Hungarian Academy of Sciences/Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Series of studies revealed a positive correlation between children’s school performance, family background and home environment. Present paper focuses on these relationships in Hungary, where transmittance of inequalities through education is more typical than those in other OECD countries.
The research is based on a representative survey on children and their families of 23 underdeveloped Hungarian subregions, conducted in 2013-2014. In these subregions, both the proportion of Roma children and children living in poverty is overrepresented; thus we can adequately map interdependencies among income conditions, ethnicity, home environment and school performance. Namely, we intend to answer the following questions: (1) Are there any differences between parenting practices in (a) poor and wealthy, as well as (b) Roma and non-Roma families? (2) If yes, can these differences be detected in school performance of children?
The main methods of the research have been crosstabulation, linear regression and variance analysis. In the spirit of mixed methods, we also analysed semi-structured interviews to draw a more comprehensive picture. According to our findings, home environment of families proved to be similar in certain aspects; but when it comes to parenting practices requiring financial investments, significant distinctions have been measured across family types. The strongest predictor of school performance was parent’s expectations about educational attainment of a child, and these expectations are differently influenced by income poverty and ethnicity.
In all phases of the research we strongly relied on human and social capital theory of Bourdieu (1997) and Coleman (1988); parenting styles of Lareau (2002, 2011); HOME (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment) studies of Bradley and his colleagues (Bradley, Caldwell, 1984; Bradley et al., 1988b; Bradley, Corwyn, 2005).
The transformation of the ghetto depends on SEAs implementation instead of social background
1University of Barcelona, Spain; 2University of Barcelona, Spain
There are numerous diagnoses and studies on poverty and their negative impact on people's lives. Poverty is a complex multidimensional phenomenon that affects all areas of human development (Sen, 1999) such as education, access to housing, work, health services or social participation among others. However, poverty is more than simply lack of resources or an income level, as it is the result of the opportunities that are available to develop personal skills. The scientific literature identifies a close relationship between low levels of education and social exclusion as an important mechanism for the development of these capacities. However, in the approach to the problem of poverty, there is little scientific literature that identifies scientific contributions to overcome it. Thus, from the R&D project Socio-educational Successful Actions to Overcome Poverty (EDU2011-24173), and through the analysis of vulnerable cases, successful educational actions have been identified that are contributing to transform environments of exclusion and poverty. This paper points out those SEAs that have an impact beyond the school and they are nowadays improving people’s live. As for example, the inclusion of vulnerable groups as volunteers in children's learning activities as a positive role model in schools and as a way to empower these people in order to have more self-confidence, to be involved in training programs, or to find work. In consequence, we are going to identify the positive impact of SEAs to improve people’s lives and overcome poverty, and the relationship among the educational and social dimensions.
Advantages and challenges in the school environment: Pupils’ perspectives of school life in Wales.
Cardiff University School of Social Sciences, United Kingdom
Schools are complex socialisation spaces of learning, play, compliance and resistance. Often the complicated nature of schools is undermined by over-simplified representations by the media, and to some extent educational policy. Even the description schools provide to the community at large can inaccurately portray the concerns, successes and failures staff and pupils face in their daily experiences.
Since 2013, the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research Data & Methods (WISERD) has conducted a multi-cohort, longitudinal study involving nearly 1500 pupils in 29 secondary and primary schools across Wales. During sweep one of the study, pupils’ were asked to provide three words that best describe their school. This paper explores the question: How did 849 Year 8 and 10 pupils describe their schools in the WISERD Education pupil survey?
Over 2000 words and short-phrases were recorded and coded for quantitative analysis using the “positive,” “neutral,” or “negative” value of the response, with Scott’s Pi Alpha used to determine coder reliability. Gender, ethnic and socio-economic variation among pupils’ descriptions was explored using descriptive statistical analysis. Thematic analysis was conducted to explore the qualitative nature of the data. While the findings of the majority of pupils’ surveyed held their school in a positive light, they also provided insight into some of the challenges they face. This paper discusses these pupils’ positive and negative responses to illuminate the sophisticated complexity of school life.
Key words: Pupil’s perspectives, School life