Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Middle-class elementary school students ask for help more often than their working-class peers

07.12.2011
Middle-class children ask their teachers for help more often and more assertively than working-class children and, in doing so, receive more support and assistance from teachers according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania.

The findings are reported in the December issue of the American Sociological Review in a paper entitled, "'I Need Help!' Social Class and Children's Help-Seeking in Elementary School" by Jessica McCrory Calarco, a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences.

The paper is based on Calarco's dissertation research, a longitudinal ethnographic study of students in one socioeconomically diverse, public elementary school.

For three years, she followed a cohort of students as they progressed from third through fifth grade, observing them regularly in school and interviewing teachers, parents, and students to show that children's social-class backgrounds shaped when and how they sought help in the classroom.

"We know that middle-class parents are better able than working-class parents to secure advantages for themselves and their children, but not when and where they learned to do so, or whether they teach their children to do the same," Calarco said. "My research answers those questions by looking at children's role in stratification—how they try to secure their own advantages in the classroom."

Her study showed that middle-class children regularly approached teachers with questions and requests and were much more proactive and assertive in asking for help. Rather than wait for assistance, the middle-class children called out or approached teachers directly, even interrupting to make requests. Working-class children, on the other hand, rarely asked for help from teachers, doing so only as a last resort. Furthermore, when working-class children did ask for help, they tended to do so in less obvious ways (e.g., hanging back or sitting with their hand raised), meaning that they often waited longer for teachers to notice and respond.

"Teachers want kids to ask for help if they are struggling, but they rarely make those expectations explicit. That leaves kids to figure out when and how to ask for help," Calarco explained.

In another related project, Calarco found that children learn whether and how to ask for help at school, in part, through the training that they receive from their parents at home. She noted that, "unlike their working-class counterparts, middle-class parents explicitly encourage children to feel comfortable asking for help from teachers, and also deliberately coach children on the language and strategies to use in making these requests."

As a result, middle-class children came to school better equipped to secure the support that they needed to complete their assignments quickly and correctly, and also appeared more engaged in the learning process.

Calarco said that while teachers don't mean to privilege some children over others, they tend to be more responsive to middle-class children's help-seeking styles, giving those who ask for help more attention and support in the classroom, and also seeing them as more "proactive" learners.

"What that means is that middle-class kids' help-seeking skills and strategies effectively become a form of 'cultural capital' in the classroom—by activating those resources, middle-class kids can secure their own advantages in the classroom," she explained. "It also means that children play a more active role in stratification than previous research has recognized."

The ASR study concludes that inequalities in education are not just the product of differences in the resources that families and schools provide for children; they also reflect differences in the resources that children can secure for themselves in the classroom.

About the American Sociological Association and the American Sociological Review

The American Sociological Association (http://www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. The American Sociological Review is the ASA's flagship journal.

The research article described above is available by request for members of the media. For a copy of the full study, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA's Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer, at 202-527-7885 or pubinfo@asanet.org.

For more information about the study, members of the media can also contact Jacquie Posey, University of Pennsylvania, at 215-898-6460 or jposey@upenn.edu.

Daniel Fowler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asanet.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>