Social class and social justice + language

Students of Sweden have freedom to choose their secondary schools options. In generally this sounds good but it is not that simple. The policy allowed the students to evade of academic work and school staff also encourage students to choose easy study options and activities which leads them away from academic side. After compulsory school students can choose a program, which prepares them for university or a vocational program that includes a practical program. However some students are not eligible for those programs and therefore they can or must choose an introductory program. (Dovemark & Beach. 2014, 583-584.)


It sounds good that we have many options for students how don’t have access to upper secondary place but in reality this last option includes many worse side effects. Teachers don’t push students to study or to try harder. The teaching includes mainly daily routines for example tasks like cooking and cleaning. Students can choose by themselves what they want to do and usually they choose the easy option (basic task like cooking). Also sometimes when they want to do some tasks that encourage academic work they can’t because they have to cook. (Dovemark & Beach. 2014, 590.)


Rothstein talks about the achievement gap issue and points out how family affects children. For example parent’s job shows their children what kind of position is good in job life (Rothstein.2004, 40). We can also think about the teachers who work in those introductory program schools systems and think what kind of effects their attitudes cause for the students. Weak school career can cause millions of frustrated youth, criminalized people, abuse of women etc. (Dovemark & Beach. 2014, 592).


Education is a big issue and we should make it better but we can’t change it only through individual. If we really want to change it, we need changes also on the state level. Only that way we can achieve for example Rothstein’s ideal situation that raises of schools quality of instruction. (Rothstein.2004, 42). Also Berliner points out that educational policy cannot only do the big changes or it is very difficult. But if economic and social policies take part also the effects can be much better. Besides some problems are not causes by the school system. For example effects from results of income inequality creates problems. It is typical that children who are born into the lower social classes will not make it to higher classes. Only 9 % of low-income children get succeed in getting a college degree in USA. (Berliner. 2013, 1-2.)


Some others examples about effectiveness of school: ”teachers only account for a portion of the ”school” effect, and the school effect itself is only modest in its impact on achievement.” ”Out-of-school variables account for about 60% of the variance that can be accounted for in student achievement.”(Berliner. 2013, 5.) The issues that have the most effect for school career are neighborhood, family and school poverty rates (Berliner. 2013, 10). These examples concern about wealth wear system of American but we can’t completely ignore those things in Finland either.


However we shouldn´t ignore the support of individuals. Ofelia Garcia´s spoke about translanguaging and how teachers act in classroom situations. Teachers accept many languages in classroom and teachers try to support this learning process by using different kind of methods. Everybody tries to understand each other and own background is a part of studying. Atmosphere is comfortable and students can learn at their own time. As I said before we need bigger actors to do bigger changes in education policies but if we like we can try to do something for example to strengthen justice among our own pupils by using those thoughts that includes translanguaging teaching.


Heikkinen, Helminen, Lehtinen, Lindevall & Neovius.



  • Dovemark and Beach: Academic work on a back-bruner: habituating students in the upper-secondary school towards marginality and a life in the precariat. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 2014, 19, 6, 583-594.
  • Rothstein: The achievement gap. Educational Leadership, 2004, 62(3) pp. 40-43.
  • Berliner, D. (2013). Effects of inequality and poverty vs teachers and schooling on America´s youth. Teachers College Record, 115, 12.
  • Ofelia Garcia: Translanguaging. Http://

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