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Natasha Kersh Institute of Education University of London, UK 1 2012 LLAKES Conference: Lifelong Learning, Crisis and Social Change 18-19 October 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Natasha Kersh Institute of Education University of London, UK 1 2012 LLAKES Conference: Lifelong Learning, Crisis and Social Change 18-19 October 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Natasha Kersh Institute of Education University of London, UK 1 2012 LLAKES Conference: Lifelong Learning, Crisis and Social Change 18-19 October 2012

2 Presentation based on Perceptions of Inequalities report Natasha Kersh, Christine Han, and Stefan Mueller-Mathis Findings from qualitative data analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out in England; Denmark; France; Singapore; Germany. 2

3 » Phenomenographic data analysis » Enables to categorise data into categories of descriptions; » Investigates the perceptions of a phenomenon by individuals; » Enables to identify dimensions of variations 3

4 » Education » Ability » Class/social class » Ethnicity, race, culture, nationality and language » Family » Gender » Motivation » Perceptions of fairness at school » Perceptions of the national education system 4 Categories

5 Nancy Fraser (2004; 2010) research: recognition, redistribution and/or representation Recognition Instances when students talk about the cultural or social differences and disadvantages that one group or groups can have, or that they see others having compared with their own group. Distribution or redistribution Instances when students talk about the distribution of goods. Representation Instances when students talk about politics or society. Texts that we can use to reconstruct whether they feel politically included as social agents, or in the social position in a kind of ‘societal periphery’ or as ‘disaggregated citizen’ 5

6 Categories of descriptions Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) Green - Generally similar views across the countries/within countries Blue - Variations/differences (e.g. views specific to particular countries) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore Education Tutors’ treatment Lack of support from the teacher Style of teaching and classroom environment Teachers’ treatment of students Dialogue between the teachers and the students. Teacher–student relationships Relationships among students Teaching methods, styles School environment Importance of education for everyday life Importance of education for promoting values in society Classroom environment Oral participation in class Style of teaching Differences between different types of schools, such as comprehensive and grammar The role of teachers Relationships with other students Purpose of education and quality of education 6

7 » » A Well yes, it’s important to teach values. You can’t force individuals to choose to keep them, but the school has the obligation to transmit the youth certain French and cultural values. It’s an obligation, this is its role, but …some individuals choose not to accept them, we can’t do anything for them (France). 7

8 » I had loads of trouble when I was younger […] people like....teachers always used to have a go at me and tell me off for my behaviour or my attitude and stuff…But no-one ever bothered to help me. So I think when I was younger I used to be really depressed as well but teachers never bothered to think “can I help you”. (Extract from an interview with vocational education student, England). 8

9 Ability Streaming Being placed unfairly into a lower ability group, e.g. in English or Math Being given unfair grades Tutors paying more attention to more able students Streaming Being given unfair grades Tutors paying more attention to more able students Ability (Being given unfair grades) Different types of school (grammar and comprehensive) that have to do with issues of streaming/ability Ability Tutors paying more attention and/or respect to more able students Ability – motivation to work harder 9 Categorie s of descripti ons Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) Generally similar views across the countries/within countries Variations/differences (e.g. views specific to particular countries) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore

10 » I was moved down to set 2 in like Year 9 when they said that I wasn’t doing as well – when I was – I was completing all the exercises and everything else, and then I started having time off because I couldn’t face it. And it’s like I feel like in schools they do concentrate more on good pupils and people who they think is going to do well [ Extract from an interview with vocational education student, England]. 10

11 » AIt was like… she (French teacher) gave me really poor grades even if I had done the same work as everyone else. And I failed to understand that. In the beginning I was pretty active – and good at it, I think. But then, because I was discriminated I stopped to care. I began skipping classes and stuff like that. [Extract from interview with male student, Robert, Denmark] 11

12 » A:Yeah the school management is fair ah, but sometime the teacher are not fair la. Because they like- » Q:How are they not fair? » A:They like er.. teaching only for the one who.. who clever than the not clever one ah. » Q:So what do they do to the cleverer ones? » A:They guide them along and then the not clever one they just don’t care about them (Singapore). 12

13 Gender Unfair treatment of women ‘in a man’s world’ ] Unfair treatment (gender- related), e.g. girls are punished less than boys Unfair treatment (gender- related), Unfair treatment (gender-related), e.g. girls are punished less than boys Gender inequality is possible Class/social class Less privileged backgrounds Social background Financial situation Gap between rich and poor Social class has not been cited as a significant element that contributes to feelings of unfairness and inequality Social background and financial situation The gap between rich and poor Financial situations of families Social responsibility of families and individuals Social background Gap between rich and poor Difference in opportunities Gap between rich and poor 13 Categori es of descripti ons Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) Generally similar views across the countries/within countries Variations/differences (e.g. views specific to particular countries) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore

14 » According to the interview data, the students feel that their social background and financial situation may enhance or undermine their educational and life chances: » » Q Do you think your social background affects it as well, like whether you come from a poor family or a rich family? » » A Obviously rich families probably have more priority, seeing your background. Like if it was to go into a good university they will see.....maybe if....this isn’t to do with poor, rich, but if they see I’m from [less privileged school] and someone else is from [more privileged school]. [Extract from an interview with sixth form student, England]. 14

15 Ethnicity, race, culture, nationality and language/ Immigration Equality could be affected if one nationality or race is given preferential treatment over another Resentment towards immigrants in general Tolerance needs to be promoted More meaningful strategies are needed Equality could be affected if one nationality or race is given preferential treatment over another Judging others (ethnicity) Classroom is perceived to a large extent as homogenous Equality could be affected if one nationality or race is given preferential treatment over another Marginalisation and discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin Equality could be affected if one nationality or race is given preferential treatment over another Ethnicity and language problems Resentment towards immigrants in general Equality could be affected if one nationality or race is given preferential treatment over another 15 Categori es of descripti ons Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) Generally similar views across the countries/within countries Variations/differences (e.g. views specific to particular countries) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore

16 » But I do believe that there are too many immigrants in the country and they should be sent home. Although they might get a better life here but they’re sort of ruining it for some of us because there’s not as many jobs going about and things like that, especially at the time now where like we ain’t got no money and things like that, and everyone’s getting sacked from their jobs and stuff. And I don’t think it’s fair that they can just come over here and get like a car, a house and things like that when there’s people on the council that’s been on there for years and they can’t even get a place. (England) Foreigners are often thought of as scapegoats for many problems in society: » » For […] the fault of the unemployment rate, they blame it on foreigners. That they complain about, and then for instance, they go [to a city] and see a Turk in a big car, but he has only got an old Mercedes and a ramshackle hut, but isn’t doing anything. And then he’s looking for a scapegoat and therefore he chooses the foreigner. Very much like a cliché. » (Germany) 16

17 Pia, whose first language is not Danish, felt that her background made her perceive herself as different from the rest of her classmates. Not being able to speak fluent Danish, she believed, affected her performance in class and made her stand out: » » […]when I have made verbal mistakes the other students have been able to pick it up right away – and then they laughed. That has not always been easy. I remember when I started in high school that I had to rephrase – I was not really able to form sentences. It came out odd and then I started laughing. I always smiled afterwards because I was embarrassed because I could hear it was wrong what I had just said. And then they laughed because I was laughing. And it was just my reaction when I get shy – I laugh. I have a reflex. And then I would get really sad. Because I was not joking – we were talking about poor children or people who suffers. And I said they had to quit it. And they would say “well it is not the first time – you laughed yourself.” And I would say that I could not help it.” And now they do not do it anymore. As if they respect me more now (Denmark) 17

18 Q Do you think teacher have racist behaviors? That is, do they give preference to some students over others? A to tell you the truth, almost all of us have African origins and I think that teachers are sometimes out of line in what they say. I’m bothered by it all the time and it’s not only one or two professors, it’s, voilà. Q Many of them? A Yes. Q Is it something occasional? A Yes, but it’s repetitive. So I used to think, no, it happens once or twice, but it’s been three years and I’m still waiting for it to be only occasional, voilà. Q So there are still professors with behaviours… A Yes, for example with our names, sometimes, pff. Q They can’t pronounce them? A Voilà. Q Do they even try? A Yes, well some of them do, some don’t. (France) 18

19 Perceiving themselves as different because of their ethnic origin make the students feel that they have to double their efforts in life as they are not treated fairly compared with ‘white-skinned’ people: » » QYou mentioned that you would like to go to the university to succeed in life. What do you expect from your education? Success in life? » » AYes, and I like it. Education is mandatory until age 16, then you have many, many, many options. If a person wants to be successful, he can, he just has to try. Sometimes you hear ‘we’re dark-skinned, it’s harder’ (on a une tête basanée, c’est plus difficile) but no, you just have to double your efforts, that’s all (France) 19

20 a grammar school student, notes » A Secondary modern and comprehensive schools [Realschule] [are similar], but at secondary modern schools there still are more foreigners, Turks and Russians and where they all come from […] and most of them look a bit run down. Well that is kind of a cliché. And with the grammar schools, for example, in our year there is maybe one Turk or two. There is one in my class that is a bit darker. But she was born here, so there are basically no migrants in the upper track of grammar schools. The social selection has gone into effect » …it shows that there are no equal opportunities, well just because they are darker it doesn’t mean they have less sense. So what is it down to, that they can’t make upper track? I just don’t understand it. 20

21 A In Singapore I think it’s really quite fair. But there are a few people who differentiate we are Chinese, Malay. When people see Malay they will usually think the person is a slacker. » QWhat will you do when you hear such things? » AI will just say stop being racist. And if it’s happen to my own friend I will take action. If it’s not I won’t be bother. 21

22 Motivation Self-motivation (more opportunities to those students who are self- motivated towards their studies, over the learners who tend to rely on the teacher’s support) Unfair treatment at school can substantially undermine learners’ motivation Motivation contributes to confidence and learning outcomes, further learning and professional development Unfair treatment at school can substantially undermine learners’ motivation Careers Motivation helps to achieve and to develop confidence and self-assurance Future careers and expected learning outcomes Motivation to achieve in life Positive attitudes to learning ‘Good results in school’; ‘good job’; ‘good lifestyle’ Goals and expectations relate to working hard and taking full advantage of current opportunities 22

23 Perceptions of fairness at school Being treated unfairly or excluded on account of being labelled as ‘different’ in one way or another Mentions of tutors favouring students with ‘better behaviour’, and not providing enough support for students with more disruptive behaviour Being treated unfairly or excluded on account of being labelled as ‘different’ in one way or another Tutors favouring some students over others for various reasons Tutors favouring students with better behaviour and better grades, and not providing enough support for less able students Tutors favouring students on the basis of their ethnic origin (nationality, language, etc.) Being treated unfairly or excluded on account of being labelled as ‘different’ in one way or another Being treated differently and/or unfairly on account of their grades or performance at school 23

24 24 Perceptions of the national education system The education system is fair in the sense that it’s free and accessible to all The education system is unfair, because some schools are better than others (so learners do not have equal opportunities) The education system is unfair, because some learners are favoured over others The education system is fair in the sense that it’s free and accessible to all The education system is unfair, because some learners get unfair treatment at individual schools in the context of individual situations The education system is fair in the sense that it’s free and accessible to all The education system is unfair because there are some ‘hidden’ elements of inequality (such as discriminating against students because of their ethnic origin; discriminating against students because of previous poor academic record) The system is not fair because it provides more opportunities for students from ‘elite classes’ (classes for more able students) The education system is fair in the sense that it’s free and accessible to all The education system is unfair because different young people may get different treatment because of their background (e.g. ethnic or national) The education system is effective because it’s based on merit and can cater to people with different talents The education system could contribute to unfair treatment or inequalities, because some learners are favoured (or treated better) over others (e.g. on the basis of ethnicity, ability, gender)

25 Perceptions of inequalities » recognition (e.g. in the society or community) » representation(e.g. political involvement) and » fairness of redistribution (of goods or funds in the society). 25

26 The data have indicated that the issue of recognition of different ethnic, national and cultural groups have come out as a major common theme across the five countries. Variations included elements associated with a range of specific instances when the young people felt that they (or their achievements) have not been fully recognised. 26

27 (1)those who have no interest in politics and/or trust in politicians and have no intention of being involved in the political life of their colleges, or in society in general; and (2)those who have developed some interest in political life and would like to get involved in order to change things. Variations from specific countries are associated with their views and perspectives of (1) why they do not develop their interest in the political life of the country or (2) what way they feel they can contribute to political developments in their countries, communities or schools 27

28 » tuition fees for further/higher education and the extent to which this may foster social injustice. » The gap between rich and poor has also been cited as a factor facilitating unequal chances for young people. » Variations included citing instances or perceptions of unfair distribution of goods/funds in particular contexts (e.g. English interviews have referred to the issue of provision of financial support for immigrants living on benefits while more benefits should be given to local people). 28

29 Categories of descriptions Fraser’s dimensions Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore Recognition Gender Disposition Behaviour Ability Social class/background Nationality/race/ ethnic origins Language Ability Social class/background Nationality/race/e thnic origin, language Fairness at school Motivation Occupation/profe ssional choice/vocational route Gender Disposition Behaviour Ability Social class/background Nationality/race/e thnic origins Language Nationality/race/et hnic origins Status Dispositions Social class/background Language Ability/Streaming (grammar vs comprehensive school education) Gender Ability Social class/background Nationality/race/et hnic origins Language 29

30 Categories of descriptions Fraser’s dimensions Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore Representation Categorisation of views: 1)Those who have no interest in politics and/or trust in politicians and have no intention of being involved in political life in their colleges, or in society in general; 2)Those who have developed some interest in political life and would like to get involved in order to change things. Education is not perceived as playing a major role in shaping students’ political views or facilitating their interest in politics Low trust in politicians affects their motivation to take a part in the political life of the country, including voting. For those who have an interest in political development the major incentive for being involved has to do with making sure the voice of the students is heard, trying to contribute to changing things for the better and defending their political views Lack of interest in participating in elections; Lack of knowledge about political parties’ programmes; Distrust of promises made by political parties; Lack of interest in students’ representation bodies in the colleges (such as students’ councils). Students’ own perceptions of how they could contribute to society, specifically promoting values, democracy and equality (e.g. through participating in demonstrations or protests). Students’ interest in political affairs has been facilitated by (1) family; (2) education; and (3) students’ own motivations to represent themselves. Such a representation could be achieved by: 1.Voting; 2.Participation in students’ organisations; 3.Participation in political movements (becoming a member of a political party). Education is perceived as playing a significant role in shaping students’ political views or facilitating their interest in politics Interest/lack of interest in political affairs and participation in students’ organisations, such as students’ councils. Lack of interest in the country’s political life has been related to feelings of dislike towards politics. Participation through engaging in activities related to their own interests or hobbies. Dissatisfaction with what politicians do Categorisation of views: Those who have no interest in politics and/or trust in politicians and have no intention of being involved in political life in their colleges, or in society in general; Those who are developing some interest in political life and would like to get involved in order to contribute to society, e.g. through participating in community service or students associations. students do not develop interest in political life because their do not have enough information about potential political involvement or activities, for example, at their schools’ level. 30

31 Categories of descriptions Fraser’s dimensions Dimensions of variations (factors affecting perceptions of inequalities) EnglandDenmarkFranceGermanySingapore Redistribution Paying for education, receiving financial support from the government or employers, being able to afford to pay for education or acquire essential equipment (such as books). Financial situations, especially as far as it concerned students from poorer backgrounds, has been perceived as one of the obstacles that prevents them from going to university Financial support for those living on benefits (more benefits should be given to local people) Paying for education, receiving financial support from the government or employers, being able to afford to pay for education or acquire essentials equipment Fairness of distribution of finance/financial privileges in society. It has concerned such categories as social class, education and family. gap between rich and poor has been emphasised in this context. financial situation has an impact on access to privileged education (sending children to privileged fee-paying schools) Different social and financial status leads to unequal chances in life Fairness of distribution of finance/financial privileges in society. It has concerned such categories as social class, education and family. paying for education, receiving financial support from the government, being able to afford to pay for education or acquire essential equipment (such as books). In this respect, the financial situation of parents who assume responsibility for paying school fees was recognised as an important dimension. Financial situation, especially as far as it concerned students from poorer backgrounds, has been perceived as one of the obstacles that may prevent students from going to university. 31

32 » Summary of findings: » Perceptions of inequalities are contextually specific » Perceptions of inequalities could be related to recognition, redistribution and representation » Inequalities could be addressed through recognition, redistribution and representation 32


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