The crime of silence : the relationship between socioeconomic status and schooling experiences

Nash, Mabel Mary (2001) The crime of silence : the relationship between socioeconomic status and schooling experiences. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (21Mb)
  • [img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
    (Original Version)

Abstract

Any exploration of possible relationships between socioeconomic status and the types of schooling experiences lived by students is one that is complicated at best. All those involved in the school system, both directly and indirectly, have a vested interest not only in the success of schools but also in the perceptions created in the public at large of the experiences they are creating. Schools are complex organizations with the vast array of personalities and organizational allegiances that they embody. It is with this in mind, that this researcher undertook the task of investigating any possible link between socioeconomic status and student achievement. -- It should be noted directly that achievement encompasses much more than the limited scope of academic grades. Levels of extra-curricular involvement, relationships with teachers and other students, self-awareness, and citizenship are some of the ideals that true achievement must address. This study began as I, myself a teacher, wanted to explore whether socioeconomic status had an impact on the learning experiences of young adults, particularly as pertaining to teacher perceptions. The study was critical in design and employed the open-ended interview technique. In total, there were twelve students and twelve teachers interviewed for the purposes of this study. -- The students in this study generally agreed that their school is a safe environment and that they are treated fairly by their teachers. Many of them stated that their school has a negative reputation in the city, but that at the same time, such a perception was largely unwarranted and was fed by popular impressions of lower socioeconomic sectors of society. The students seemed to enjoy their school experiences and most feel that a large percentage of their school population will continue their education at least beyond the high school level. At the same time, though, it appears that many of the students do not seem to question mainstream culture and its undeniable influence on curriculum and education. They often equate achievement levels with intelligence and fail to recognize the many factors that can impact upon a student's success. The school system, and society in general, must begin to make targeted efforts to improve this situation. -- The teachers who participated in this study attributed many impacts of the lower socioeconomic status home to the educational process, including, but not limited to, lower motivational levels (particularly in homework and project completion), an increase but not difference in the discipline issues, lower parental involvement (especially in terms of active school involvement and difficulties in maintaining home-school contact), as well as apparent lower levels of participation in, and commitment to, second language programming. The teachers appear to be committed to the success of their schools, not only as educational institutions, but also as a focal point of the community At the same time however, some of the teachers failed to recognize their own perceptions of the inner city child that may hamper them in their own efforts. Feelings expressed that perhaps the home is not supportive because the desired results from the home are sometimes not being reached is presumptuous and erred. Elements of blame for the child for not wanting to 'get out' are also troublesome. -- There are no easy answers to the questions posed in this study. Indeed, this researcher does not claim to have found them. But the twenty-four participants have illuminated one point: that schools are not responsible for the poverty issues with which they are faced nor do they embody the entire solution. I would suggest that schools must take more of an active role in the community by continuing in their positive efforts to make the schools available to as many students of the student body as possible. Teachers should not only begin or continue to evaluate their own perceptions of their students, and the criteria upon which they are formed, but also encourage the students, through active discussion and debate, to question the values of our society and those groups they actually do represent. -- To imply or to suggest the schools are the cure to the disease of poverty is reckless and irresponsible. While to be sure they can make a more targeted effort within their means, they cannot be assigned the role of curing the far-reaching implications of poverty. Poverty issues are affecting our children, our families and our schools. If as a society we do not make it a priority to address this issue, we will be cheating so many students with so many worthwhile stories to tell. The crime of silence.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1062
Item ID: 1062
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 165-173
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2001
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Poor children--Education--Newfoundland and Labrador; Students--Newfoundland and Labrador--Economic conditions; Students--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social conditions; Education--Economic aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics