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Shame and Confidence, Knowledge and Social Codes. Interaction in a School with Democratic Ambitions

Publiceringsår: 2007
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag

Sammanfattning

It is always challenging to try to transmit and transform values and attitudes within a school in a democratic society, and even more challenging to do so in a group of socially disadvantaged pupils. What happens in a classroom where disadvantaged pupils in the upper secondary school meet teachers who have a general obligation to transmit democratic values? This article is a case study of the interaction between the pupils and teachers within the framework of the individual programme – a Swedish upper secondary school program, which has the purpose to help pupils pass the three subjects necessary for entering an ordinary upper secondary school programme.

The theoretical basis of this article is the much debated concept of citizenship. The liberal tradition focuses on the status and rights of citizens, whereas the communitarian tradition focuses on practice and common good. This article brings these two traditions together into a theory that centres on the agency of citizens. The empirical case study is based on participant observation, focus groups and interviews conducted during one school year.

The interaction between the teachers and the pupils is characterized by differences concerning social class, ethnicity and previous school experiences. These differences are closely connected to the structural conditions in Malmö, a Swedish city with 275.000 inhabitants with ethnical and social segregation. The teachers have high ambitions: boosting their pupils’ confidence, helping their pupils understand social codes, contributing to their pupils’ general knowledge and helping the pupils get a passing grade in their school subjects. The interaction in the classroom is more characterized by the pupils’ ambivalent attitude towards school. The pupils emphasize that school is important to them and see it as their last chance, but they are still ashamed to be in this particular programme and go to a lot of trouble to make mischief in the classroom.

Disputation

Nyckelord

  • Social Sciences
  • education
  • citizenship
  • agency
  • social codes
  • shame

Övriga

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