Pupils from wealthier households have more natural confidence at school after being taught by mothers and fathers to engage with authority figures, it was claimed.
The study found that children with working-class parents were more polite and courteous in lessons but often shunned teachers and attempted to solve problems alone – hampering their long-term academic development.
It was feared that the differences in classroom behaviour by the two groups may have knock-on effects in later life as poorer children slip further behind richer classmates.
The disclosure – in research published in the United States – comes amid continuing concerns over link between social class and educational achievement.
One British study earlier this year found that the highest-performing pupils from disadvantaged families lagged around two-and-a-half years behind bright children brought up in wealthy homes by the age of 15.
Despite an extensive Labour drive to boost access to higher education, it also emerged that the richest schoolchildren were around six times more likely to go on to a top Russell Group universities than the poorest fifth.
Jessica Calarco, assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University, assessed the classroom behaviour of primary-age pupils as part of the latest research.
She said: “Even very shy middle-class children learned to feel comfortable approaching teachers with questions, and recognised the benefits of doing so.
“Working-class children instead worried about making teachers mad or angry if they asked for help at the wrong time or in the wrong way, and also felt that others would judge them as incompetent or not smart if they asked for help.
“These differences, in turn, seem to stem not from differences in how teachers responded to students – when working-class students did ask questions, teachers welcomed and readily addressed these requests – but from differences in the skills, strategies and orientations that children learn from their parents at home.”
The study was based on observations of a class of state school children aged nine to 11 over a two year period. Children were assessed twice a week and then interviewed with their parents over the summer holidays.
Research revealed that pushy parents from all kinds of social backgrounds attempted to teach their children how to behave at school and work hard.
But a clear class divide in their methods emerged.
Working class parents were more likely to emphasise the role of politeness and courtesy and being deferential to authority, it was revealed. They would also tackle assignments or projects but on their own without asking for help.
In contrast, middle class children were encouraged to raise their hand, ask questions and not be afraid to ask for help when needed.
These children are then more likely to be noticed by teachers who tend to reward such behavior, said the study. It meant that they became more outgoing as they get older, which could help as they get jobs or have to deal with authority in other ways, it emerged.
This definitely applies to me. When I’m in jobs I tend to let myself get treated like crap because I’m worried what will happen if I stand up for myself.
this shit is so real that it hurts.
Let’s not forget that when middle-class students ask for help, they’re being “proactive” about their education. When working-class students ask for help it’s seen as proof that they aren’t capable of learning (or learning on that level) and don’t belong in that particular classroom.
I think it’s fascinating that with an upper-middle-class parent and a working-class parent and a mixed-class life experience, I fit into the “working class” version of this model. I actually expected otherwise.
THE BOLDED. I was reading some article about how girls aren’t taught to progress or practice or something and my first thought was ” horse shit” because I was always taught top ractice and develop.
BUT as a lower class girl I was also taught ESPECIALLY in scholarship situations , not to ask for development and help , because rather than indicate a desire to succeed , it indicated a lack of ability.
as well ABAAP I would wonder what you were taught about HOW to make the jump. Cause that is HUGE as well. Like what are the narratives we are told about how to negotiate because I find in a lot of mixed class backgrounds if the working class parent never gets comfortable IN the upper middle class , they try to make their kids as unobtrusive as possible as part of assimilation.
Read “Limbo” by Alfred Lubrano. Many people never are able to psychologically make that jump, and often because they are physically marked as working class. Lubrano notes that as a big Italian-American guy, one of his journalist co-workers made a comment about him needing a “goon” to protect him from a stalking non-fan. Another co-worker stated, “Alfred doesn’t need a goon; Alfred is a goon.” But beyond that, the assumptions are different between those worlds, and strikingly so for women (femininity being marked by white middle classness).
And fuck, these class borders are policed to hell, anyway. I’m right now loaded for bear. Tomorrow, I’ve got an IEP meeting for my daughter at her school. At the last IEP meeting at last year’s school’s end….despite her higher-than-average scores and As in language & literature, social studies, and science, they had her listed for bottom-weight classes for the next year. I insisted that she be placed in the heavyweight classes for those subjects based on her performance in class and her reading scores. I got it, but if I hadn’t been able to make that meeting? My daughter would have been shit outta luck—-they’d have placed her in classes that would have bored the shit out of her and made her lose interest in school. It’s been hard enough for me to keep her college dreams alive. She’s a bright kid who has struggled with learning disability due to her prematurity——her brain is still developing (I mean, every kid’s is; hers moreso than average because like all early preemies she’s still catching up).
I will hide BODIES if I have to.
I want SOOOO BADLY for you to meet my mom. SOOOO VERY BADLY. I hope this ain’t an insult but you’re writing reminds me of her stories of fighting for me so much.
And that’s part of the issue.
Kids who GET INTO different class backgrounds are often only there because of MOTHERS who raised all kinds of hell and have tow orrry about that as well as vindictiveness about their placement.
As a kid of that… I can say I have hid shit and not asked because of being ashamed of, scared of, and scared FOR the sheer destruction my Mom would have to cause for basic services.
You can’t go in with anything less than willing to hid bodies cause if you don’t they will BODY your child and that’s if you KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON
And I read Limbo
and can I say I WEPT. I was a senior right before my dads deportation AND JUST WEPT.
I felt in my chest how I had been shorted