Interactionism and Education.

AS Sociology

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Interactionism and Education.

Interactionism blames underachievment in education on schools and the processes within it influencing the childrens learning.
Howard Becker: Said that teachers have the image of the ideal pupil which is punctual, always hands work in, presentable and obey the teacher. This image is most like a middle class child. Teachers labelled working class as demotivating and hard to control. Interactionists criticise the point that the education system is meritocratic.

Ray Riot: He looked at the teachers perceseption of children in a American nursery. He argued that in a matter of days with limited information they had already placed the children into three groups.
1) Tigers: Constantly showed signs of favour and where placed on the tables closest to the teacher. They where seen as fast learners regardless of ability. The children conformed to the teachers middle class image of a student. 2) Cardinals: Group was put into the middle of the classroom, were given few opportunities to prove they could move onto harder work. 3) Clowns: Groups were put further away, given lower level workbooks and were made to work as a group. They were not of the middle class expections of the teacher. 

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Interactionism and Education.

Rosenthal and Jacobson: Self fullfing prophecy. People have a picture of themselves this is from how other people react to them. People can be labelled by others as a certain type of person. If the label sticks then everyone will see them as that person and that would be a self fullfiling prophecy. The person will act accordingly so the prophecy is then filled. Their study looked at mexican children that were in a streamend and setted school. The mexican children were all in the lower sets. They wanted to test the idea of whether the teacher having a favourable impression of the child would lead them to do better. They gave all children an IQ test and the teachers were told that the Mexican children did the best. The next year they gave the test again and the Mexican did achieve better results than they did before. This was because the teacher had paid more attention to these children believing that they were the more intelligent. The expectations and image of the children changed for the teacher when they heard that they were apparently the most intelligent students. The attention that they gave the child improved there grades and educational achievement.

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Interactionism and Education.

Critcisims of Rosenthal and Jacobson: Teachers perceptions of the children caused them not to do as well. Partcipants did not have informed consent so did not know what was going on. Neil Keddie: Streaming and Classroom Knowledge. Looked at streaming and setting in secondary and a large London comprehensive. She looked at the way knowledge was classified and evaluated. She tried to find out the criteria that teachers used to classify classroom knowledge. Found a link between ability and social class.
Higher Streams: Contains mainly middle class students from higher status backgrounds.
MIddle Stream: Had skilled manual/lower class middle class parents.
Lower Streams: These were from unskilled/semi-skilled backgrounds.

 She argued that middle class students in A Stream where closest to the ideal pupil. They were more likely to accept the validity of the teacher knowledge. B Stream has access to basic but not sophisticated knowledge. C Stream tended to question peoples knowledge, teachers withheld higher knowledge from these children they were less willing to work within deadlines. Teachers saw them as innopropiate and irrelevent.

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