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Week Nine Annette Lareau Unequal Chidhoods. Research Basis Intensive observation of 12 families, half black and half white, each racial category also.

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Presentation on theme: "Week Nine Annette Lareau Unequal Chidhoods. Research Basis Intensive observation of 12 families, half black and half white, each racial category also."— Presentation transcript:

1 Week Nine Annette Lareau Unequal Chidhoods

2 Research Basis Intensive observation of 12 families, half black and half white, each racial category also divided by social class. All families had a child in third grade. Lareau and her research assistants spent about 20 hours with each family, including an overnight… The families got used to having them around.

3 Upper and Middle class kids “Discussions between parents and children are the hallmark of middle-class childrearing. Like many middle class parents, Ms. Williams and her husband see themselves as “developing” Alexander to cultivate his talents in a concerted manner. Organized activities, established and controlled by mothers and fathers, are the hallmark of middle class childraising.

4 Poor and working class kids Parents see a clear boundary between parents and children.... For them the crucial responsibilities of parenthood do no lie in eliciting their children’s feelings, opinions, and thoughts. Parents tend to use directives; they tell their children what to do rather than persuading them with reasoning. Most children are free to go out and play with friends and relatives who live nearby.

5 Advantage and power The central institutions in American society, including the schools, firmly and decisively promote strategies of concerted cultivation in childrearing…. As a result, middle class children appear to gain a sense of entitlement while working class children appear to gain an emerging sense of distance, distrusts, and constraint in their institutional experiences. Differential advantages (pp. 5-6)

6 Two Schools Lower Richmond: old building, few windows, chainlink fence, asphalt playground…Security guard just inside the entrance… Nevertheless rated a “very nice place” by one teacher and termed a “pretty place” by another..some grass and trees and a clean building… unlike some other schools in the district where beer bottles and broken glass litter the school yard… Salary levels and teacher qualifications less than in the suburbs About ½ of kids read below grade level, and teachers estimate that half the kids have a parent who is absent or incapacitated.

7 More AboutLower Richmond Racially segregated neighborhood, with bussing. About ½ of kids read below grade level, and ¼ of the third grade cohort is a full year behind. Teachers estimate that half the kids have a parent who is absent or incapacitated. One third grade class had substitutes for their whole year.

8 Swan School One-story buildings that are spread over the school grounds, an entire wall of windows for each classroom, a grassy hill, swing set, bars, shredded wood underneath. Middle class neighborhood where houses sell for twice the cost of houses in Lower Richmond. Parent participation. “Swan PTA meetings attract ten times as many parents as Little Richmond.”

9 Swan School parents At Swan, “parents watch teachers closely and do not hesitate to intervene on their children’s behalf (Instructor: status differences between teachers and parents). “It is not unusual for parents who children do not qualify for the gifted program at Swan to have them tested privately.” …”daily life is not always smooth…”(see p. 23)

10 “Unequal Education” Youtube: video-center/unequal-education-failing-our- children/ video-center/unequal-education-failing-our- children/ Or check bookmarks

11 “The Hectic Pace of Concerted Cultivation: Garrett Tallinger In May: baseball, private soccer club, all-star soccer, swim practice, piano lessons, saxophone(sports: Nic interviewing at Bain) Mrs. Tallinger: career change to facilitate all this activity Exhausting pace for Garrett and they saw the same thing with other u-m-c kids, p. 53 Brother Spencer: gifted program, sibling rivalry, open hostility at times (saw no equivalent in working class homes)

12 A Child’s Pace: Tyrec Taylor “For nine-year-old Tyrec Taylor organized activities were an interruption.” Informal, impromptu outdoor play the norm. Less quarrels with siblings, less competition for adult involvement(rides) p. 76 Comparing upper middle class and working class: p. 68 “Trying out for football”: p

13 Children’s Play is for Children: Katie Brindle On the phone: “I’m making a doll house; My Grandmom brought me some boxes.” When I arrived, I asked her about the doll house. “I don’t know how to make it. Will you help me,” Mom?” “Nah,” says CiCi. Interpretation, p. 83 Most poor parents did not consider children’s activities consequential or as something that ought to involve adult time… The family survives on public assistance, food stamps, and medical assistance. Family, neighborhood, home: pp “The Brindles had more numerous and deeper psychological problems…”p. 96

14 Unequal Childhoods, 2 nd edition, 2011, with an update ten years later Limits: “The follow-up of an ethnography is likely to rely much more on interviews than on observations.” Relations with participants: “Participants seem frequently to feel angry and betrayed when they read research results.” “You slurred us Annette. You made us look like poor white trash.” (see p ) “What I wish I could have done.” (p. 315, 325) “In my view, for better or worse, a research project is controlled by the researcher.” (330,331)

15 Results from a quantitative analsysis “After the book was published, I carried out a research project with quantitatively skilled collaborators.” Analyzed a nationally representative, longitudinal data set, the Child Development Survey, that is part of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Key element: time diaries that list all the activities carried out by each child for a 24-hour period on a randomly chosen weekday and a randomly chosen weekend day.”

16 Key Findings Participation in organized activites closely linked to class but not to race. Time “hanging out” also strongly linked to class Time spent with extended kin: linked to class as her study showed, but “black children are considerably more likely than their white counterparts to have contact with extended kin.”

17 What the PSID-CDS data couldn’t show “It turned out to be virtually impossible to test some of the most important findings of Unequal Childhoods by analyzing survey data.” See p. 341 Afterward, with more confirmation of the generational effects of social class: p. 342


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