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Classed patterns in the course and outcome of parent-teacher interactions regarding educational decision-making

Authors
  • Seghers, Marie
  • Boone, Simon
  • Van Avermaet, Piet
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2019.1662771
OAI: oai:archive.ugent.be:8644305
Source
Ghent University Institutional Archive
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

Educational transitions are crucial sites of social selection. Whereas social bias in teacher recommendations is well-established, less is known about teacher guidance in the process preceding the actual choice. Bridging the literature on social class and educational choice and home-school relations this study explores classed patterns in the course and outcome of parent-teacher interactions regarding educational decision-making (EDM) at the transition from primary to secondary education in Flanders (Belgium). We used a qualitative research design combining observational data from 104 parent-teacher conferences in two schools in the final year of primary education, with 26 in-depth interviews with parents reflecting on educational choice and teacher guidance. Using grounded theory, our results show that the importance of teacher guidance for parents' decision-making is strongly dependent on their social and cultural resources on the one hand and the types of educational decisions they are facing on the other. Nevertheless, teachers remained largely blind to the social dynamics in the choice market. Our results depict how teacher guidance regarding EDM is little proactive and unstandardized. In this context parents' cultural and symbolic capital came into play. When needed, middle-class parents proved to be entitled and effective in their exchanges with the primary school. Working-class and migrant parents more often showed constraint and therefore failed to extract the necessary information. Disagreement and fear for biased recommendations further complicated the interaction, alienating those most in need of assistance.

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