Contexts of learning in schools
The research reported in this the pie has been an attempt to investigate and describe some of the realities of classroom learning. Beginning with a critical review of previous research in the sociology of education the first chapter goes on to report the author's initial attempt at research in this field. The conclusions were that, (i) social class factors are mediated through classroom processes, (ii) the expectations of the teacher are a likely influence on pupil achievement, and (iii) the attitudes of a child towards school learning are effectively determined by his experiences at primary school. Chapter two describes an experiment supporting the hypothesis that children are aware of their teacher's expectations for them. A repertory grid technique for determining the perceptions of a teacher towards individual pupils is explained in chapter three. This chapter also presents an analysis of pupils' classrcom behaviour in terms of the constructs of those pupils' teacher. Chapter four looks at the power of these constructs to account for achievement when compared with a socio-economic variable. It is argued that social class is net a significant factor at classroom level. In chapter five a research plan is outlined. This involved observing pupils in five primary schools and following them to a single comprehensive school. This chapter argues that the symbolic interectionism of C-.H. Mead provides a useful theoretical framework for explaining classroom interactions between teacher and pupil. Chapter six is an empirical account of the curriculum and teaching methods in the observed schools. Chapter seven presents four case studies in which it is shown how children transact through these interaction? an agreed classroom-self. By the repertory grid technique it was? possible to shew which pupils were perceived favourably and which unfavourably by their teachers'. Chapter eight discusses children 'who were perceived differently by teachers in primary and secondary school. The adaptation made by these children to their new school was related to their teachers perceptions of then, Chapter nine deals with, academic ability and self perception. An experiment showing the wide agreement between the members of a class about their relative abilities is described. Chapter ten is an account cf the formation of. friendship cliques in the non-streamed primary and secondary schools I observed. Finally, chapter eleven argues the relevance of my findings to educational research.