12.9. Social class and social justice

Group: Heidi (writer), Tomas, Lucy, Tero & Sara

Hello! Here are some of our comments about the articles. First about the Dovemark & Beach article we thought that the IP programme did not work that great as it was planned. The students own interests were not taken into account based on the view that they don`t fit the “standard” to pursue academic path. Instead they had to do manual work because it was seen more suitable for them considering that these students are “low-ability” learners. These students were labeled to be “low-ability” learners and this can be seen as one outcome of the predominant discourses in the field of education that maintain the social hierarchies. Discourses are powerful because they shape social reality and conceptions about people and at the same time they define the limits of agency for people. According to these discourses you have to fulfill certain standards to be considered suitable for academic career (middle-class language, habitus, skills) and this places students to different positions. It seems like the IP programme was just maintaining the same old situation for these students and not giving them chance to pursue the path they wanted resulting to limited agency. On the other hand it is interesting that academic skills are always emphasized and considered to be something more valuable than manual labour as if it would not be something worth pursuing.

About the Rothstein article we noticed that social class has significant effect to equality in education. School reforms do not solve the situation because the problems go beyond that. This is because social class defines what kind of starting point children have when they go to school because the differences in income and family background effects the quality of life. For example there is health problems and lack of certain skills when it comes to lower classes. These problems are complex and it requires long-term work to make change. However it is interesting that middle-class child-rearing is seen as something better compared to working- class and this article also presented it in negative light as if it would always be deficiency.  The message is that you can`t be successful in life if you have been raised as working-class. I think that this kind of thinking reflects the society`s values what is seen as desirable and this creates hierarchies between social classes which in turn shapes the social reality and discourses in it. Also the schools have been built around this middle-class ideal and that is why it favors some students over the others.

Berliners article stated that inequality in wealth in the USA is the reason why schools can`t do much for the current situation. Education does not solve the problems because the welfare of the children is not in good state. The real solution to this would be to reduce inequality in income by getting people to decent jobs so that they can take care of their families. Finally about the translanguagin that it is useful tool in education because students can make sense of things in the language they find suitable for themselves. It can also improve the equality of teaching when the students can learn with their own native language without having to adapt completely to the majority language. On the other hand it can also be confusing when languages are mixed together and what are the effects of translanguaging to the actual language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *